IDA Ireland remains firmly committed, as do I, to increasing regional development. That is why the agency has targeted a minimum increase in investment of 30% to 40% in each region outside of Dublin by the conclusion of its current strategy in 2019. Progress is being made towards that goal. Sometimes this is not reflected properly, and I will provide some statistics that support what I am saying.
In 2016 over half of all IDA Ireland-supported jobs created were based outside of Dublin. That is important. There are currently 23 IDA Ireland-owned units and 84 IDA Ireland-owned sites which are available for marketing as locations for investment. These are spread throughout the country. If Ireland did not have those sites is would clearly diminish Ireland’s ability to win mobile foreign direct investment, FDI, particularly for the regions.
Determining which of these sites may be attractive to a client depends very much on the particular requirements of the company concerned. Factors that are habitually important to overseas investors include the suitability of local infrastructure for the particular business, the proximity of transport hubs and the availability of skilled talent. It is often the case as well that multinational companies seek to base themselves as close as possible to businesses operating in the same industry. There is a wide variety of factors.
IDA Ireland always does its utmost to encourage clients to locate in areas that are most in need of investment. That is very important. I want to see that approach continue because we want to see the benefits of FDI spreading across the country into areas that need that investment. We have to remember, however, that the ultimate decision as to where to invest is always taken by the company itself.
It is also important to remember that site visit activity does not necessarily reflect investment potential because at least 70% of all new FDI comes from existing IDA Ireland client companies. It should also be emphasised that FDI only forms one part of investment in regional locations. Indigenous enterprise is responsible for a significant portion of employment growth, particularly outside of Dublin.