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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 24 Apr 1991

Vol. 407 No. 4

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Industrial Aid for Peripheral Areas.

Jimmy Deenihan


16 Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if the Government have any plans to introduce a preferential grant aid scheme to attract industry into the peripheral areas of Ireland, such as Kerry.

I have no plans to change the grant levels currently in operation. County Kerry is a designated area under the Industrial Development Act, 1986, which allows for a higher maximum capital grant rate. While maximum capital grants are seldom given, the IDA, in negotiating with project promoters, take full account of the developmental needs of each area.

Will the Minister agree that recent experience has shown that industry is now attracted to the larger population centres, especially where there is an international airport, and that in order to encourage industry to the peripheral areas there will have to be some form of preferential grant scheme which would give a greater incentive for industrialists to locate in those areas? Would the Minister ensure that the advantages available under our present grant scheme are specified in IDA literature? At present it is very hard for an industrialist locating in Ireland to be made aware that he would get a better deal if he invested in peripheral areas.

I have no doubt that all industrialists or would-be industrialists who are thinking of investing are well aware of relative grant levels in different places, but the Deputy will have to appreciate, as I tried to make clear in the reply, that the days of the payment of maximum grants of 60 per cent in any part of the country are long since gone, and we will not see them again. What I think important as the question relates to Kerry is that the Deputy should be aware that the very considerations he is putting forward now are borne in mind. I am looking at the average capital grant level paid nationally and comparing it with the average capital grant level paid in County Kerry in the period 1986-90, inclusive, and I find the Kerry average figure is 11 per cent higher than the national average. From that, the Deputy can safely conclude that the difficulties or disadvantages of peripheral areas are fully borne in mind and the kind of policy he is advocating is followed.

I would like to remind the Minister that the advantages he is pointing out have not been very effective in attracting industry into Kerry. As he knows, in the last ten years we got very little in Kerry so we need more than is there at the moment if we are not to condemn Kerry and other peripheral areas to total depopulation.

I think Kerry is doing reasonably well overall. I would like to see more industry there but, equally, I would like to see more in other counties that are less well fixed than Kerry, but let us hope there will be further development there soon.