Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation díospóireacht -
Thursday, 19 Dec 2013

IDA Ireland: Discussion with Chairman Designate

Apologies have been received from Deputy John Lyons, Vice Chairman, Deputy Áine Collins, Deputy Michael Conaghan and Senator Mary White. I welcome Mr. Frank Ryan, chairperson designate, and Mr. Barry O'Leary, chief executive officer of the Industrial Development Authority. They are both very welcome and I thank them for attending at short notice in the week that is in it.

In accordance with procedures, I must advise our guests of the following notice. By virtue of section 17(2)(l) of the Defamation Act 2009, witnesses are protected by absolute privilege in respect of their evidence to this committee. If witnesses are directed by the committee to cease giving evidence on a particular matter and they continue to do so, they are entitled thereafter only to a qualified privilege in respect of their evidence. Witnesses are directed that only evidence connected with the subject matter of these proceedings is to be given. They are asked to respect the parliamentary practice to the effect that, where possible, they should not criticise or make charges against any person, persons or entity by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable. Members are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect that they should not comment on, criticise or make charges against a person outside the Houses or an official either by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable.

As Mr. Ryan and Mr. O'Leary are familiar with that procedure, it will not put them off as we commence proceedings. I invite Mr. Frank Ryan to make his opening remarks to the committee.

Mr. Frank Ryan

I thank the Chairman and the members of the committee for the invitation to come before the committee today. I am honoured to have been asked by the Minister, Deputy Richard Bruton, to become the chairman of IDA Ireland.

With the Chairman's permission, I wish to take this opportunity to introduce myself personally to the committee. I am a native of Dundalk and attended the Christian Brothers in Dundalk where my main interest lay in the Irish language. I am married to Rose, we have two adult children, Jeremy and Grainne, and one grand-daughter, Jasmine, and we now reside in County Meath. On leaving school, I joined Air Traffic Control and after basic training in Cork Airport was assigned to Dublin Airport. Following the death of my father, Michael, I returned to Dundalk to work in an Irish computer company, Qeleq Limited, for a period of four years. It was while working at Qeleg that I got my first exposure to working with computers and of marketing and, following a further two years of work with Honeywell Computers, Dublin, I was fortunate to join IDA Ireland in August 1978 as a project executive working on the attraction of overseas IT companies to Ireland.

During my 25-year career with IDA Ireland I served in North America from 1979 to 1983 and was a member of the IDA team which successfully attracted the Intel investment to Ireland in 1989. Today, Intel employs more than 4,000 people at Leixlip County Kildare with an associated investment of €7 billion. At the conclusion of my IDA service I was the executive director of the agency responsible for the attraction of foreign direct investment to Ireland.

My service with IDA Ireland also afforded me the opportunity to study. During this time I completed a diploma in business strategy at the Irish Management Institute and an MSc in Strategic Management at Trinity College Dublin. Both these qualifications were achieved through part-time study.

I was appointed chief executive officer at Enterprise Ireland in November 2003. By the end of 2012 exports by Irish companies had grown from €9.6 billion in 2003 to €16.2 billion. My tenure at Enterprise Ireland was characterised by a focus on leadership, including the setting of high expectation of my own work ethic and that of others, to deliver on behalf of our clients and the State.

I retired from Enterprise Ireland on 2 November 2013 following the completion of my second five-year term as chief executive officer. Earlier this month I was conferred with an honorary degree, Doctor of Laws, by University College Dublin and was recently the recipient of the Innovation in Management Award 2013 from the Irish Management Institute. In addition, I am currently chairman of the Early Learning Initiative at the National College of Ireland, chairman of the judging panel of the Deloitte Best Managed Company Awards, a council member of the Irish Tax Institute and a member of the Committee of Industry and Commerce at the Royal Dublin Society.

I am deeply familiar with the work of IDA Ireland. It is rightly recognised as the number one foreign direct investment agency in the world. It is a competent, well-run and effective organisation. It has deeply experienced and committed staff and an excellent chief executive. This is not to deny that the IDA needs to continue to sharpen its focus and to evolve to meet the needs of overseas client companies. A number of issues will arise next year. During 2014 Mr. Barry O'Leary will complete his assignment as chief executive officer and will be particularly hard to replace. The identification of a new chief executive is of particular importance and I intend to focus on this important issue in the coming months. It is, of course, a matter for the Minister to appoint members of the board, however, I intend to work with him to ensure that the board always has within its membership the key talent and experience to guide the work of the agency to best effect.

The continued attraction of high levels of foreign direct investment is of key importance to the growth of the economy. In my prior work with the IDA I gained valuable experience of working with the developed economies of the United States, Europe and Japan. During my tenure with Enterprise Ireland I gained additional experience of trade with Asia, the Middle East and South America.

It will be my privilege to work with the IDA board and its staff both at home and overseas. My goal is to utilise my 35 years of experience in economic development to lead the board of the agency in an effective and efficient manner and to maintain the standing of the organisation as the most effective foreign direct investment agency in modern economic times.

I thank the Chairman and the members of the committee for the invitation to appear before the committee today and I will be pleased to take any questions.

I thank Mr. Frank Ryan for that. I open up the discussion to the members and call Deputy Calleary.

I welcome the chairman designate, the chief executive officer and their officials. This is a very good appointment on the part of the Minister. I have had the privilege of working with Mr. Frank Ryan previously. All the skills he outlined will be brought to the job. It is a particularly important role for him. With his understanding of small companies he can bring to the table the experience of the links they can with our multinational sector. We need to strengthen the links between Enterprise Ireland client companies and our foreign direct investment base, and I hope he will be able to bring that to the table. While I have huge respect for the IDA and huge regard for the work that all of its staff do, the regional focus of the organisation in recent years has slipped. The number of job announcements in recent years are very welcome and are a testament to the quality of the team in the IDA but we are very much entering into a two-speed recovery.

Many of the regions are being left behind. Mr. Ryan's adopted county of Meath did not have any IDA visits in 2012. Some focus should be brought to that as well.

I wish Mr. Ryan every success in the role. This is a very strong appointment on the part of the Minister and Mr. Ryan will have a great skills base to bring to the role. I wish him health and happiness.

I welcome the two witnesses to the committee today, and I very much welcome Mr. Ryan's appointment. He certainly brings a skill-set and assets to the job that I think will serve the IDA very well. I wish him the very best of luck in his new role. I have a number of questions that I would like to put to the witnesses, especially Mr. Ryan.

My first question is about the information that we get, as Oireachtas Members, from the IDA. It is important that there is full transparency and that we get as much information as possible. I am talking primarily about job announcements. It is very important that we get the information very quickly about the follow-up. We often have job announcements but we do not always see them materialise into real jobs created. It would be important if we could be given that information as quickly as possible and be always kept informed about progress once jobs are being announced. I would like to get information about the number of jobs created from within the State, from outside the State and so on, which would be useful to us.

Mr. Ryan's previous role will help in deepening links between the SME sector and the FDI sector, and between Enterprise Ireland and the IDA. That is very important. If we can get more FDI into the different regions of the State, that will create spin-out opportunities for SMEs, and these very much go hand in hand. Mr. Ryan's experience with Enterprise Ireland will certainly benefit the IDA as well. What is Mr. Ryan's own view on how we can deepen and strengthen the links between the two organisations?

I must raise regional disparities and strategies, as the previous speaker did. I am from the south east. We have very high levels of unemployment, which are 4% above the national average. Unemployment in Waterford city is at over 20%, which is the city I represent. Before Mr. Ryan came in, I presented him with a copy of the south east economic development strategy, which this committee published. I do not expect him to know the detail of that report but it made a number of clear recommendations which we were hoping the IDA would implement. The main recommendation was for a regional office with a regional director of the IDA based in the south east. There should not be a director and an office just for the sake of it, as there should be the support staff and a strategy for the region as well. The figures presented to us by the IDA are not encouraging. There were 315 jobs created by IDA sponsored companies in 2011, while 1,095 jobs were lost. In 2010, there were 406 jobs created and 887 jobs lost. In 2009, there were 427 jobs created and 938 lost. It is good that the IDA is bringing jobs into Ireland but we need to make sure that there is balanced regional development. There is a commitment from the Government that 50% of all FDI jobs would be outside the main urban centres of Cork, Dublin and Galway. That was dropped from the revised jobs action strategy but it is still there as an objective. I would like to hear Mr. Ryan's view on that, on the south east and on other regions that are underperforming.

There are FDI challenges in the areas of life sciences and the pharmaceutical sector. It is an area that the south east is strong but we know that the pharmaceutical sector faces issues in respect of the patent cliff and so on. The CEO of the IDA recently spoke about the challenges that the sector faces but perhaps Mr. Ryan can give his own view on it. The issue of tax avoidance - if I can use the term - by multinational companies has come up, and I know it is being examined by the OECD, by the G7 and the EU. What is Mr. Ryan's view on that? How can Ireland make sure that we are not seen as a country that allows tax avoidance?

I would like to finish by wishing Mr. Ryan the very best of luck in his new role. I have no doubt that with his experience and qualifications he will add real value to the organisation.

I welcome the witnesses today. Mr. Ryan's history sounds exactly like the sort of history that we want. I would like to take him back to 1979. I was approached to become chairman of what became An Post at the same time as Michael Smurfit was made chairman of An Bord Telecom. We both said at the time that we did not know anything about these businesses and wondered what we would do. My first question was about the challenges, and I am going to ask Mr. Ryan that now. What does he see are the challenges?

My second question when I was appointed chairman of An Post was about the changes that I wanted and the third question was about the conditions I put down. Michael Smurfit put down a condition that he be paid £5,000. He was going to give it to charity but there was a limit on the amount that could be paid, at £1,500, and he wanted to establish that they were willing to break the rules to establish An Bord Telecom, which I thought was very good. My condition was that I would always be dealing with the Minister and not with the civil servant when I wanted to get through to him. We made two different choices. I said that I wanted to have an office in the middle of the GPO, but Michael Smurfit said he wanted a prestigious office far away from wherever Telecom Éireann was at the time. What does Mr. Ryan see as the challenges for the IDA? What are the changes that he would like? Did he make any conditions in accepting the job?

I welcome the witnesses. Mr. Ryan has been here several times before in his previous role. I agree with other speakers on the idea of linking up both Enterprise Ireland and the IDA. We have a huge dependence on FDI coming from the USA. The Far East now seems to be a major hub, with huge potential, yet we do not have any inward investment coming in from China. That is a huge potential market.

This is no reflection on Mr. Ryan but I am a little bit concerned with the fact that he is an insider. His appointment is from an inside position. He knows everybody in it. He will be chairman of a board to oversee what goes on, yet he is probably on first name terms with everyone in both organisations. I do not know whether that is healthy or unhealthy because it has been shown in the past that we have too much close contact. That is not healthy for the economic environment. I would like to hear Mr. Ryan's own views on that. I can see the advantages of it, especially given that Mr. O'Leary is finishing up in the next year and there needs to be some kind of continuity. However, I have a little fear that Mr. Ryan could become a poacher turned gamekeeper.

A vote has been called, but we probably have time for Senator Clune's question and we can then come back after the vote.

I congratulate Mr. Ryan and wish him well. He is very familiar with the work of the IDA. No doubt his 35 years of experience will be of enormous benefit, notwithstanding the previous comment by Deputy Lawlor. Like Senator Quinn, I would be interested to hear of what Mr. Ryan believes are the challenges.

I do not know if it is on his agenda but something that came up recently in Cork is the lack of availability of third generation office space. I know Mr. O'Leary has spoken about it publicly.

How serious an issue is that and does it constitute a blockage in this area? The property sector is in a state of flux but hopefully it is steadying and moving on to the next phase. The reports we have heard from city and county managers is that it is an obstacle to investment in the Cork area and I know that is also the case in the Dublin area. I would like to hear our guests' comments on that point. I wish them well.

I propose to suspend the meeting and resume on the conclusion of the vote in the Dáil. I apologise to our guests for this. Hopefully, there will be only one vote and we will resume shortly. It will give our guests time to confer on the answers to those questions. I echo the comments that were made about Meath.

Given that three Senators are present, is it necessary to suspend the meeting?

It is up to Deputies Lawlor and Calleary. Are they happy for the meeting to continue in their absence?

Yes, if that is allowed.

Would Senator Quinn like to chair the meeting in my absence?

Is it in order for us to continue?

That is fine. In case the meeting concludes before I return from the vote in the Dáil, as chairperson of this committee, I am delighted that Mr. Frank Ryan is taking on this role. It is a very important one and he and Mr. Barry O'Leary will make a very good team. I am sorry that Mr. Barry O'Leary's tenure in office could end this year but he might still be involved. I wish them the best of luck. We will be back to talk about Meath at some other stage although perhaps not today. Senator Quinn will take the Chair.

Senator Feargal Quinn took the Chair.

Our guests have heard questions from five members and we would love to hear if they have any answers to the issues raised.

Mr. Frank Ryan

I will deal with the questions in general terms and then deal specifically with some of the issues raised and to aid and abet them in that I will call on Mr. Barry O'Leary to set out some of the detail. The key objective for the IDA in 2014 is to continue to win foreign direct investment, FDI, against increasing global competition. One of the challenges is to dispel the myth that exists around foreign direct investment that it was competitive to be attracted to Ireland perhaps 20 years ago, as opposed to the investment we will see over the next 20 years. We are between stools in our interpretation in Ireland today in regard to where modern FDI sits. Global competition is intensifying. Many moons ago when I set out with the IDA, it was a first-mover in this area and had the benefits associated with that. Now every state in the United States has a development agency, never mind the international competition that is there for investment. Seeking FDI has become an industry almost in its own right. The agency next year will finish its final year of its current Horizon 2020 strategy. This opens the opportunity to set out a new strategy and new vision for FDI for the period 2015 to 2019 and it is one on which I look forward to working with the board, the Government, the Dáil and particularly the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

There are a number of key issues that we probably need to address in an open manner. The first one is the regional location of foreign direct investment within the State and what type of FDI we can realistically attract to regional locations. If I have a vision for Ireland for the future it is that we will have an international reputation as a location for the research and development of new products and services and the selective manufacturing that would go along with that and that can be competitive from the silent, as it were. It is around that context that we need to have an open discussion and an open understanding because we tend to summarise economic investment in what I would call, to some extent, the old ways, namely, on the basis of the number of jobs that have been creased by the IDA or by IDA companies or by Enterprise Ireland companies. For decades we have had two segments of the economy almost operating in parallel to each other as opposed to integrated together. My vision is that we would have a seamless enterprise engagement structure. We are not there yet but we can get there. That means that the multinational companies over the past five to seven years have openly gone with open innovation, which means they are declaring that they will no longer undertake in-house all of the research and development to do with their products and service. They have moved to open innovation. Wherever they find opportunities, they will work with those companies. That opens a door to a whole new relationship between Irish small and medium enterprises, SMEs, which have invested in research and development and innovation and technology, to have a whole new relationship with the multinational companies based in Ireland. It gives the multinationals the opportunity also to be more competitive in supplying the needs of their customers.

From my experience in Enterprise Ireland, the one organisation I would hold up as being excellent at this is a Accensure in Dublin which has strategic relationships with 15 to 17 Irish companies which regularly bid and win international business together where the Irish company picks up 10% to 15% of the value of a sizable contract and does very good business. Also, when we start to summarise the jobs created, around 70% of the jobs created in IDA companies tend to be in the large urban areas but the opposite is the case in Enterprise Ireland where about 70% of the jobs are outside the main urban areas. Perhaps there is merit in presenting that data together as an integrated approach to where jobs are being created. In many cases, Irish companies, certainly Enterprise Ireland supported companies, are taking on people today because they have got contracts from overseas companies either in Ireland or overseas. It is important to understand the different and varied relationships that can exist. An Irish company may take on people in Donegal and they are recruited to meet the needs of overseas companies but we never explain that to anybody. We never explain the cause and effect of the investments. There is a great opportunity for us to do that.

There is also a great opportunity for the FDI companies to effectively mentor Irish companies and they need mentoring. The Irish companies, like the overseas companies, have to compete against global competition every day. There are ways of schooling companies in how to be more proficient in terms of bidding within the procurement rules and regulations of multinationals and so forth. They have to learn that and it takes time to do so. Those are some of the challenges that I see. The global competition challenge is a very big one and, as part of that, I would take up the issue of suggestions of tax avoidance associated with Ireland. We have a very transparent tax system in Ireland. When the jury concludes its deliberations, other locations around the world may have to explain their position but I do not think we will be explaining ours any more than we have explained it to date. It is a cental part of our economic policy and personally I would be very supportive of it. I will ask Mr. Barry O'Leary to comment on a number of the issues, starting with the patent cliff issue and the response to it which I know the IDA has put in place.

Mr. Barry O'Leary

The patent cliff issue is not a new one as it has been well known for the past eight years and Ireland has been positioning itself in the traditional pharmaceutical business to make sure that facilities are no longer only manufacturing but that they comprise development and manufacturing co-located together. A substantial amount of the IDA's research and development budget goes towards that development and manufacturing model. The new form of pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals, were winning considerable investment in that area. What has happened globally is that because companies were losing products to patent expiration and they did not have enough new ones coming on steam, they tended to look for mergers. I would point to two in particular, Pfizer acquiring Wyeth and Merck acquiring Schering Plough. Pfizer was left with 11 facilities in a country the size of Ireland and overall it was left with about 100 facilities in excess of what it needed.

In that case, they have been shedding and rationalising. However, four of the Pfizer sites have already been acquired by other pharmaceutical companies. Amgen acquired the Pottery Road facility in Dún Laoghaire. Hovione, the Portuguese company, bought one of the facilities in Cork. J&J has bought another one, as did a Californian company, BioMarin. A number of these are brand new companies and it was a way of attracting them. That being said, there is still pressure and will be.

There are currently eight existing clients in Ireland investing over €100 million per project. Those, which are underway, will bring new capacity on stream. Regeneron, which is a company that has a value of approximately €30 billion on the stock exchange, announced yesterday that it would invest $300 million in Limerick to employ 300 staff and 600 construction workers, and there are a number of projects of similar scale in the pipeline. Having run through a couple of rough years, some companies are beginning to come out of it but new players are coming on as well. It is an important business because there is much construction activity associated with it as well.

On a couple of points Senator Clune mentioned about the jobs announced and the real jobs, first, over half of all investments are never announced. For confidential reasons, companies do not want to go public. Second, IDA Ireland is not judged on job announcements. IDA Ireland states publicly, in all its reports, the number of jobs created. The number of jobs created in recent years are approximately twice the number that were announced. The message of that is there is no correlation between announcements. There are far more jobs created. We probably would announce 5,000, 6,000 or 7,000 jobs and we could be creating 10,000, 11,000 or 12,000. One will see that in the annual report, in our end-of-year statement that comes out in January.

As regards the regional office in the south east, we have a team of four staff in the south east, based in Waterford. We do not have a director because we have 19 offices around the global - we have ten in Ireland - and in recent years, like all organisations, we have had tightness in our staffing numbers. We want to expand to different markets and with the transport infrastructure, one does not need a director in every region. In fact, what we need is more staff out in the global marketplace generating business rather than them based in some of the regional ones.

Senator Clune mentioned property. Property is an issue, particularly large footprint property. I am talking about property of 100,000 sq. ft. In the first instance, I will talk about Dublin. There has been a large take-up of large office space in Dublin by FDI clients. Three clients alone, Deutsche Bank, Novartis and Facebook, have acquired over 300,000 sq. ft. over the past couple of months. That is an enormous amount of space. There are further buildings that are of that size, but only a very small number. Bearing in mind each of those buildings can hold 1,000 staff, we would be confident of continuing to win more investments of that scale and very quickly we will run out of such large footprint buildings. If one comes today and states that there is no office building, it will be 18 to 24 months by the time one can bring that on stream.

Cork is winning much FDI. There is a good pipeline for Cork but, because of, I suppose, unique circumstances in Cork, it has one of the construction companies, Cleary,-----

John Cleary Development.

Mr. Barry O'Leary

-----which has come up with a very good model. He built approximately 150,000 sq. ft. on spec, got in some of the multinationals and I am sure is flipping it as an investment opportunity. I think he is going to build another 100,000 sq. ft. or 200,000 sq. ft., which should be fairly good from a Cork perspective because companies such as Apple went out and built their own.

In other regions around the country, Galway is certainly tight from a property point of view. IDA Ireland will start constructing buildings in Waterford, Athlone and Letterkenny to facilitate winning FDI.

I think that is about it, unless there are any other ones that I missed out on.

Deputy Damien English resumed the Chair.

Those from the south east would be disappointed with Mr. O'Leary's view on regional development and the south east. He stated that there would be no need for a regional director because he would rather see staff out globally promoting all of the regions and the State.

The difficulty that we would have in the south east is that if one looks at the reality, not only the perception, when we had a regional office in the south east we were performing better and since we lost the regional office, we have massively high unemployment, way above the national average.

Mr. Barry O'Leary

We have an office in Waterford.

Sorry, with respect, the regional office in Waterford was closed. We do not have a regional office.

Mr. Barry O'Leary

That is not correct.

With respect, the amalgamation of Waterford city and county councils, as Mr. O'Leary will be aware, presented an economic development plan to the Minister and they are also calling for a regional director, a regional office and a regional strategy. It is simply not true to say that we have it. We do not have a regional office to the same extent that we had a regional office in the past.

On the point I am making about the figures, the figures show that the south east region is not getting its share and we are seeing more jobs lost the more jobs are created. That is a reality. I very much hope that when we see a new change in personnel, both in terms of the CEO and the chair, that we will see a different approach taken to balanced regional development. One cannot state that we have had anything like our fair share of jobs created by IDA Ireland in the south east over the past five years. I would be strong on that point. I would be disappointed with Mr. O'Leary's comments and I would hope that we will see in time a change of policy in this area.

Mr. Barry O'Leary

IDA Ireland did have an office in the new business park, at the ferry end going out on the Cork Road. Approximately 18 months ago we moved our office in Waterford. It is located in the same building as Enterprise Ireland on the old industrial estate and there are four staff there, and to be factually correct, IDA Ireland does have a regional footprint there.

Remote offices is what they call them.

Senator Cullinane should let Mr. O'Leary finish.

Mr. Barry O'Leary

They are not remote offices. Management changes. One does not need a director. We do not have the luxury in our ten offices of having directors. We have amalgamated to get critical mass.

However, I accept that the south east has indeed suffered. While overall over the past four years, employment by FDI companies has grown quite significantly, in certain regions, particularly the south east, it has not. There have been new investments in the south east. After all, Merck, Sharpe and Dohme in Carlow did not exist four years ago and it has over 400 staff on site. The same is so with Unum in Carlow, which has 100 staff.

In Waterford, we announced a project to employ 200 staff from Nypro earlier this year and we also backed a €45 million investment by Sanofi. In addition, in Wexford, we have supported both BNY Mellon and Zurich, and Coca Cola in recent times. However, I accept that in the south east we are definitely not landing as much business as we would like to.

Are there any other questions?

What is Mr. Ryan's viewpoint with regard to coming from an inside position? Will he become - he will forgive the expression - a gamekeeper of the poachers?

Mr. Frank Ryan

I suppose one could say the same for when I went to Enterprise Ireland ten years ago. I was an insider of development agencies. It did not stop us doing a complete root-and-branch review of how Enterprise Ireland engages. The results are there to be seen. We have an indigenous sector now that is performing and that is increasingly fit for purpose and can win contracts against global competitors on an ongoing basis. It has never stopped me from asking the hard questions. Only by asking the hard questions does one get insight.

One of the hard questions the Deputy raised is this issue about 80% of the FDI coming from the United States of America. It is a key issue. My view on it is this. In the markets where one is strong, one must stay strong. The United States is a market that is enormously important from the point of view of FDI, trading opportunities for Irish companies and tourism.

Most of the overseas companies that have established here have a mandate from their parent companies in EMEA as it is termed - Europe, the Middle East and Africa. We may need to discuss with those companies opportunities to broaden their mandate here. Traditionally, that is the mandate that this part of the world gets in terms of subsidiaries being established.

The world has changed, and has changed dramatically in the past five years while we have been dealing with our own significant challenges here at home. By 2030 at the latest, China will be the largest economy in the world. Brazil is of enormous strategic importance going forward because it is the only country on its own that can feed China. The vast majority of the oil that still remains in the world is located across the Eurabian peninsula. Russia will heat western Europe in terms of gas supplies. Our world here in Ireland has changed dramatically and the new IDA strategy will not be a voyage to the past. It has to be a voyage into the future and in developing new forms of FDI with the regions of the world that are growing fastest.

I am delighted Senator Quinn is here. He gave me my first job as a kid in Dundalk. I was a box-boy in his supermarket and I learned a lot from him watching. He had a very innovative style of management which was clear even then, and even to a kid like myself carrying boxes of groceries to cars. It was a long time ago. My first pay cheque from him was for £1 and 10 shillings, which was very important at the time.

No fear of that.

Mr. Frank Ryan

I thank Senator Quinn for that.

The national spatial strategy is being redrawn and it would be important for the IDA to take an active role in this review of strategy. We believe that some areas are suffering from a lack of investment. Investment follows the national spatial strategy. The strategy has a role in creating an environment for job creation and it is important that the IDA is involved in that process. The previous strategy did not deal with certain areas and I am aware that the Dublin region was omitted from it. That was a mistake. I hope this will be re-examined in the future strategy.

I thank Mr. Ryan and Mr. O'Leary for engaging with members. On behalf of the committee, I wish Mr. Ryan success in his role as chairperson. We look forward to keeping in touch with him on a regular basis and that he will engage with us in the future.

The secretariat will inform the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Richard Bruton that the committee has concluded its engagement with Mr. Ryan on his proposed appointment as chairperson of the Industrial Development Authority.

The joint committee adjourned at 1.20 p.m. until 1.30 p.m. on Tuesday, 28 January 2014.