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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 9 Nov 1978

Vol. 309 No. 4

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Dublin Industrialisation.


asked the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Energy if the provision of additional industry in the Dublin area is proposed; if the IDA will undertake further promotional activities with the object of siting new industry in Dublin, in view of the adverse effect on employment in that area of the recent recession; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The Industrial Development Authority have been actively promoting the Dublin area for industrial development for some time past and will continue to do so. In 1977 projects with a total job potential exceeding 6,000 were approved for the area. Based on the results already achieved, it is expected by the authority that the 1977 figure will be surpassed this year.

Is it not a fact that for every £1 million worth of hides we export we could manufacture——

I have answered another question.

There is no point in the Minister turning his back on this. Too many people are turning their backs on it. We have the hides and we have the cattle. We are dumping them in London for somebody else to treat them and send them back here.

In view of the fact that the Minister has admitted that the redundancy rate is the highest in the Dublin region——

It was, in 1973 up to the beginning of 1977.

The unemployment rate is highest in the Dublin region.

No, it is not. There are other areas which are at least as hard hit.

Is the Minister saying Dublin is not the region of highest unemployment?

I would say in Limerick city it is at least as high.

That is the Minister's own fault.

In Dundalk it is at least as high.

Surely Dublin contains the highest number of unemployed. Taking into account the central city areas which proportionately must contain the highest rate of unemployment, would the Minister agree that the IDA must make available more services and redouble their efforts to get suitable industries into those areas?

This morning I had a meeting with a deputation from Dublin Corporation on these matters. One of the difficulties encountered by the IDA is the virtual impossibility of getting sites in central Dublin. This morning's meeting was useful in seeking to identify ways of overcoming that problem. Notwithstanding the difficulties involved, and the extremely high costs involved, the IDA have now acquired some sites and are in the process of acquiring some further sites in the central parts of Dublin city.

Quite apart from the current water shortage difficulties, is the Minister aware that only the western sector of Dublin is suitable for heavy industry? Will he consult with the local authority to ensure that these areas will be brought into service? Apart from some light industries around the periphery of the city, heavy industry cannot be brought into Dublin.

I am not aware that Dublin suffers any such disadvantage. Parts of it are perfectly suitable for heavy industry. I would imagine that from the infrastructural point of view Dublin is a great deal better off than many other parts of the country.

In view of the fact that for many years the policy of the IDA, which I suppose seemed enlightened at the time, was to discriminate in favour of western and other areas which were said to be under-developed, to the detriment of the inner city of Dublin, does the Minister believe the time has come for the IDA to reverse that policy and to discriminate very positively in favour of parts of Dublin city which have a very tragic rate of unemployment? The Minister referred to the difficulties encountered by the IDA in obtaining sites in Dublin city. Would he turn his mind and the minds of his colleagues to the fact that there are at least 200 acres of derelict sites in Dublin city about which nothing is being done?

It is fair to say that at no stage in their existence did the IDA ever discriminate in favour of or against any area. They never sought to force the promoter of any proposed industry to go to any particular place. They gave varying levels of grants in varying parts of the country. For the past two years or so, as a result of the situation which had arisen in Dublin in 1976, Dublin was brought in line with the remainder of the non-designated areas. That remains the position at present. I could not envisage any situation in which Dublin—if that is what the Deputy is suggesting—would get higher rates of grant than other parts of the country. In any event I do not think it is necessary, because Dublin has a very considerable natural advantage over most other parts of the country in the attraction of industry.

Is the Minister aware that in certain parts of Dublin there is absolutely no prospect of industrial development?

Question No. 17. We cannot spend all day on Dublin.

In the area stretching from Templeogue to Shankill there is only one advance factory, and no industrial sites are available in whole areas of Dublin.

I would consider the part of Dublin which needs industrial development to the greatest extent would be the immediate inner city and not the areas mentioned by Deputy Desmond, which strictly speaking are not industrial areas or zoned for that purpose. The Deputy should bear in mind that the IDA have already acquired 500 acres of industrial land in Dublin and around it.

On the south side?

On both sides of the river. I will give the Deputy the locations if he wants them: Coolock, Clonshagh, Clover Hill, Finglas, Swords, Sandyford, Balbriggan, Ballycoolen, Blanchard-stown, Snugborough and Baldoyle.

All on the north side except Sandyford.

As well as the 500 acres they have acquired, they are in negotiation for the purchase of a similar large quantity of land.