Two out of the total 682 IDA Ireland site visits of 2017 came to Donegal last year, it has been revealed.
Donegal was one of the least-visited counties by prospective clients of IDA Ireland, the agency which works to attract foreign direct investment to the country.
In light of these figures, Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue has criticised the Government for concentrating investment opportunities in Dublin and surrounding areas, to the detriment of the regions.
Out of the total 682 site visits in 2017, there were 327 in Dublin, with another 37 in the commuter counties of Louth, Kildare, Meath and Wicklow. Donegal secured 0.3% of all visits to the country.
Deputy McConalogue said: “These figures are further evidence of this Government’s complete neglect of the regions. The trend of targeted investment in Dublin and commuter counties is most definitely continuing – will 327 out of 682 of all site visits taking place in Co. Dublin alone.
“Compare that to the North Western counties of Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim, which saw a combined total of 25 visits in the last year, and the discrimination is clear.
“It comes as no surprise that the economic situation in these counties has not seen any dramatic improvement – the Government has chosen to continue to focus on the capital and is showing no real interest in pushing the potential of the regions.
“We have greenfield sites, we have an IT in Letterkenny, which produces high calibre graduates, and we have a proud history in this county of manufacturing and production. However, we need the government to get on board and to actively promote counties like Donegal.
“We have seen a lack of investment and support in the North West and that needs to change. Unless we make Donegal an attractive place to live, with good quality jobs and infrastructure, people will continue to leave and communities here will be irreversibly damaged”.
On releasing the figures on Tuesday, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphries TD said that site visit activity does not necessarily reflect investment potential, as at least 70% of all new FDI comes from existing IDA Ireland client companies.
Minister Humphreys said: “Site visits nevertheless do represent an important tool through which investors can be encouraged to invest in regional areas and the IDA always does its utmost to ensure that investors consider all potential locations when visiting Ireland.”
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