I am taking this question. I thank Deputy Quinlivan for raising this issue.
Global competition for foreign direct investment, FDI, is as intense as ever. We compete against many other countries and big cities from all over the world when it comes to securing new job-rich FDI from overseas. That is why the IDA’s main priority in its efforts is first of all win the projects, and to ensure that Ireland is selected by the firm in question.
Once that is achieved, which is a big achievement, the agency does everything it can to encourage companies to locate or expand into regional locations. This is consistent with both the IDA’s current policy, which has targeted an ambitious increase in regional investment by the end of 2019, and the Government’s wider approach of strengthening enterprise all over Ireland. This joint focus on the regions is yielding significant results, as was evident again from the IDA’s mid-year jobs and investment figures for 2019, with 50% of jobs now located outside of Dublin.
The Government also wants our principal cities to remain highly attractive to multinational firms. Dublin, in particular, with its international profile and track record as a home to many successful overseas companies, will continue to be a favoured destination for many investors, as evidenced again by recent job announcements. That is very much a positive that we have a strong capital city to generate investment in the country as a whole. It is also the case that our cities and regions are competing against the rest of the world, rather than against one another, for investment projects.
As regards the housing market, and in particular in increasing supply, that is well documented. It is important to make clear that these difficulties are not attributable to multinational firms and the jobs they have created, whether in Dublin or elsewhere. The root causes of our housing market difficulties are much more complicated than that, as the Deputy is aware.
The Government’s focus has been on addressing those housing problems and delivering fair and sustainable solutions over the short, medium and long term. That is why we are implementing the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan which includes financing measures, new construction and rental sector improvements. As of the first quarter of 2019, there have been almost 19,000 new houses completed, an increase of 25% compared to the same time last year. Dwellings in the Dublin and mid-east region account for over 60% of these completed properties. This is a welcome development given that demand for housing is at its highest in this part of the country.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
Overseas firms operating in Ireland are aware of the housing challenges we are facing. But they understand too how much of a priority this is for Government and what has been done to increase supply. It is important to remember as well that many of the countries Ireland competes against for FDI have difficulties of their own when it comes to residential housing. That does not diminish our own housing challenges, which we remain determined to address, but it does serve as a reminder that these are problems that many others are also wrestling with.