IDA Ireland is the agency with statutory responsibility for the attraction of foreign direct investment to Ireland. In pursuit of this objective the agency is committed to ensuring a more equal distribution of job opportunities and to encouraging the establishment of additional foreign investment in the Border, midlands and west region.
IDA Ireland is seeking to achieve 50% of all new green field jobs in the BMW region over the 2000-06 period and substantial progress is being made in this regard. Since 2000, a total of 46% of all new green field jobs have been created in the BMW region. In 1999, prior to the start of the Government's current national development programme, some 25% of all new green field jobs were locating in the region.
Strategically important investments for the BMW region announced during 2003 include Abbott in Longford, ABB in Dundalk and SAP Galway. While IDA Ireland is optimistic that further progress will be made during 2004, I stress that this is heavily dependent on short to medium term developments in the world economy, which can heavily influence overall international flows of mobile investment.
IDA Ireland is actively marketing the region to overseas investors through its project divisions and network of overseas offices. The agency's strategy includes an ongoing programme of developing a network of business and technology parks within the BMW region to ensure that the property needs of potential investors can be met. Typically, new jobs on the ground come on stream within three to five years of approval. I am confident that the strategies and policies being pursued by IDA Ireland, together with the ongoing commitment of Government to regional development, will bear fruit in terms of additional sustainable investment and jobs for the people of the BMW region.