Thursday, 31 January 2019

Ceisteanna (118)

Mick Wallace

Ceist:

118. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if she is satisfied with the number of IDA site visits to County Wexford from January 2017 to the end of 2018; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53442/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

As Minister, my objective is to create the best possible environment for enterprise, entrepreneurship, innovation and investment. Creating more jobs outside of our main cities is a key priority for both the IDA and my Department in that regard. Real progress has already been made towards that goal, with 58% of all IDA employment now outside of Dublin. This represents the highest number of people employed by IDA clients outside of Dublin in the history of the organisation. The last 12 months has also seen more IDA jobs added in the regions than at any time over the past 17 years. 

With regard to site visits, they do remain an important tool in helping showcase particular locations to potential overseas investors. In 2017, Wexford hosted three such visits by IDA client firms. There were three further site visits to the County in the first three quarters of 2018. Data on site visits for the entirety of 2018, for both Wexford and the remainder of the country, will be available shortly.

The IDA has a number of locations available for investment in Wexford which are being actively marketed to its clients through its network of offices in Ireland and overseas. These include lands at the IDA Business & Technology Park in Wexford Town, the Whitemill Industrial Estate in Wexford Town and the IDA Business Park in Enniscorthy. I am hopeful that further investors can be encouraged to situate in the County, whether at these sites or others, and thereby contribute further to the wider region's growth and development.

Whilst the IDA is doing everything within its power to ensure its clients locate outside the country’s principal urban areas, attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) to the regions is not without its challenges. Many overseas firms, for example, will only consider large cities for a variety of operational and commercial reasons.

I am nevertheless pleased to say that FDI in County Wexford has exhibited strong growth in recent years. I understand that there are 18 IDA client companies now located there, employing a total of 3,139 people. There has been a 6.5% increase in IDA supported employment in the County from 2017 to 2018. Moreover, Wexford has seen a 25% increase in FDI-driven employment since 2013. It should also be noted that FDI only forms one part of investment in regional locations. Indigenous enterprise is responsible for a significant portion of employment growth, especially outside Dublin.

While the employment trends in Wexford are positive, I recognise that there is room for improvement in the County. I am working hard, together with my colleagues across Government, to further unlock its economic potential and thereby create more jobs and opportunities for the people of the area.