IDA Business Park in Portlaoise.
Laois was bypassed by the IDA when it comes to showing the county to foreign investors who could create jobs here according to latest official figures.
Laois Fianna Fáil TD Sean Fleming asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Frances Fitzgerald about the number of IDA visits to County Laois for each of the past three years and the number of visits to date in 2017.
In reply the Tánaiste revealed that no companies have been brought to the county in the first four months of 2017. She also admitted that just over 2.5% of jobs in four midland counties are located in Laois.
In 2013 just two came while none visited the following year. In 2015 four companies were shown Laois while six investors were in Laois last year.
Replying to Dep Fleming in the Dáil Minister Fitzgerald said the Government is committed to regional development and her Department and its Agencies are working towards ambitious targets to ensure that employment and investment are as fairly distributed as possible across the country.
"In June 2015, my Department published a Midlands Regional Enterprise Strategy as part of the Action Plan for Jobs. Good progress is being made but I know that more remains to be done, especially in counties like Laois.
"County Laois is marketed by IDA Ireland as part of the Midlands region, together with Counties Westmeath, Longford and Offaly. In total, there are 30 multinational companies based in the Midlands, employing 4,280 people.
"There are 115 people employed by those IDA Ireland client companies based in Laois," admitted the Minister.
She said site visits represent one tool through which the IDA has sought to encourage more investment in Laois. She said ten visits in 2015 and 2016 led to the creation of 28 new IDA Ireland supported jobs.
The Tánaiste said that as part of this Action Plan the Laois Local Enterprise Office (LEO) is advancing three projects - which are in receipt of approximately €230,000 of funding through the LEO Competitive Fund. She said these projects should help to collectively foster further enterprise and employment growth in the county.
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