Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Ceisteanna (286, 287)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

286. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if there are foreign direct investment visits planned for County Meath; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46337/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

287. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if there are foreign direct investment visits planned for County Westmeath; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46338/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 286 and 287 together.

Regional development remains a key priority for myself and my Department. We understand the importance of achieving the best possible spread of employment and investment across the country and my Department and its Agencies have been working hard towards that goal. Significant progress has already been made, with 58% of all IDA client-supported employment, for example, now located outside Dublin. This figure represents the highest such figure in the history of the Agency. Last year the Agency also delivered 113 regional investments. Our aim is to increase these numbers further and create more jobs and economic opportunities across regional Ireland.

Whilst site visits are an important tool in helping showcase regional locations to investors, it is important to remember - as I have made clear before - that the final decision as to where to invest rests solely with the company concerned. It is also the case that site visit activity does not necessarily reflect investment potential, as a significant proportion of all new foreign direct investment (FDI) comes from existing IDA clients already present in the country.

For commercial sensitivity reasons, IDA Ireland can only make data available on site visits that have already taken place. Over the first three quarters of this year, Counties Meath and Westmeath have hosted three and 16 site visits respectively.

FDI levels in both Meath and Westmeath are trending in the right direction. Meath experienced a 4.5% increase in IDA supported employment in 2018, with the creation of 67 new jobs. Similarly, FDI employment in Westmeath increased by 16.5% with 493 net new jobs added last year. The enterprise agencies under my remit will continue to engage with their clients and with one another to secure further investment and job creation for Meath and Westmeath in the time ahead.