Increasing the level of foreign direct investment (FDI) in regional Ireland – including in the Border region – has been a priority of mine since I was first appointed as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation. I know, as an elected representative of Cavan-Monaghan, how important it is to create new jobs and economic opportunities in regional areas. That’s why I am committed to achieving the best possible spread of FDI across the country and to working with our enterprise agencies to generate employment and investment outside of our main cities.
In 2018, Monaghan experienced an 8% increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) employment, with 12 jobs added by companies in the County. Similarly, Meath saw a 4.5% increase, with the creation of 67 new jobs. While there were no new FDI-supported jobs created in Cavan in 2018, it is encouraging to note the announcement by Liberty Insurance in October that it will create 120 new roles in the County over the next three years. That expansion is a great vote of confidence in what Cavan and the wider Border region has to offer to multinationals.
With regard to site visits in 2019, data is now available up until the third quarter of this year. County Meath has hosted three site visits. It is encouraging to note that there have been four IDA site visits to Monaghan as of Q3 2019 compared to three site visits for the entirety of 2018. We've already seen a threefold increase in site visits to Cavan with six visits to the County as of the third quarter of 2019 compared to two visits in 2018. While the IDA will continue to promote and showcase locations in these Counties to prospective investors, it is important to remember that the decision as to where to invest is always taken by the companies themselves.
My Department and the IDA have taken a number of steps to attract further investment to Monaghan, Cavan and Meath. The next phase of the IDA's Regional Property Programme (RPP), for example, includes plans for an Advanced Technology Unit (ATU) at Knockaconny, County Monaghan. I announced the appointment of a design and delivery team for this ATU earlier in 2019 with construction due to commence by year end. These facilities can help to encourage overseas investors to consider regional areas and I am confident that the ATU in Knockaconny, once complete, will lead to further investment and job creation.
In addition to the RPP, the IDA targets further investment for the wider area through its office in the Cavan Innovation and Technology Centre. The Agency has also appointed a new Regional Business Development Manager for the North-East Region. As part of its strategy to promote the area, the IDA is focusing on specific sectors including agrifood, manufacturing, tourism and internationally traded services. The Agency's staff regularly engage with key stakeholders on the ground in Cavan and Monaghan, including with local authorities, public bodies, the education sector and companies from both its own client base but also from the indigenous sector. County Meath, meanwhile, is being actively marketed by the IDA as a location for second sites for multinationals in the Dublin region, with a focus on building clusters in existing sectors like high-value manufacturing and international services.