My Department and the IDA are working hard to attract further investment to County Monaghan, despite the challenges presented by Covid-19. As the Deputy is aware, the next phase of the IDA's Regional Property Programme (RPP) includes plans for an Advanced Technology Unit (ATU) at Knockaconny in the County.
I was pleased to turn the sod on this building in December, marking the beginning of construction. Whilst the project was initially scheduled for completion in December 2020, construction has been temporarily put on hold on account of Covid-19. The timeline for the resumption of work remains dependent on public health advice and the facility’s completion date will be revised accordingly.
In addition to the RPP, the IDA continues to target further investment for Monaghan and the wider region through its regional office in neighbouring Cavan. As part of its strategy to promote the area, the IDA is focusing on the specific sectors of agri-food, manufacturing, tourism and internationally traded services. The Agency's staff regularly engage with key stakeholders on the ground in Monaghan - including local authorities, public bodies, the education sector and companies from both its own client base and the indigenous sector - as part of efforts to generate new investment.
More broadly, the level of foreign direct investment in County Monaghan continues to improve. From 2017 to 2019, Monaghan reported a twofold increase in employment by IDA Ireland client companies with 168 net new jobs added during this period. I am confident that the new ATU in Knockaconny will stimulate further investment and job creation for the people of Monaghan and the wider Border region.