Dáil Éireann - Volume 383 - 19 October, 1988
Ceisteanna — Questions Oral Answers - Job Creation Agencies.
Mr. Spring Mr. Spring
 63. Mr. Spring asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he has had any discussion with his British counterpart to consider the possibility of better co-ordination between the job creation agencies in the North of Ireland and the Republic, with a view to ensuring that more investment is attracted to Ireland as a whole; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Mr. Reynolds Mr. Reynolds
Mr. Reynolds: Article 10 of the Anglo-Irish Agreement provides that the Anglo-Irish Inter-Governmental Conference shall be the framework for the promotion of co-operation between the two parts of Ireland concerning aspects of economic, social and cultural matters. Both Governments are committed to improving co-operation in the economic and social sphere and in this context I have had a number of meetings with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with responsibility for Industry, Mr. Peter Viggers, M.P. At our last meeting, which was held at Stormont on 14 July, 1988, we recognised that there were many areas where North-South co-operation can be of great benefit and that a co-operative approach in practical initiatives to develop the economy of the whole island of Ireland, North and South, and thereby create jobs, is in everybody's interests. The completion of the Internal European Market by 1992 presents common problems, as well as opportunities, and arrangements have been made for the staging of a working conference at Louvain next December at which senior representatives of industry and public sector agencies from both sides of the Border can consider areas where co-operation will yield maximum benefit all round.
The potential for closer co-operation in relation to regional development between the appropriate public and private sector agencies on both sides of the Border will also feature in the North-West study which both Governments have agreed to commission. A decision  by the EC Commission on the funding of this study is expected shortly.
A substantial degree of co-operation between job creation agencies on both sides of the Border has also been established at practical level in regard to the working of the International Fund for Ireland. Already the equivalent of £86 million has been donated by the US, Canada and New Zealand to the fund. Most of this has already been allocated to employment-creating programmes on both sides of the Border. Further substantial donations to the fund for these purposes are expected during 1989.
As regards promotional efforts abroad, I would explain that competition for mobile industrial investment worldwide is extremely intense and each agency concerned seeks to distinguish itself from its competitors in the incentives it offers. The Industrial Development Board in Northern Ireland are an integral part of the British investment drive co-ordinated by the Invest in Britain Bureau and as such directly compete with our Industrial Development Authority for overseas industrial investment. It is therefore recognised on both sides that the scope for co-operation in the promotion of overseas industrial investment of this nature is limited.
Mr. Spring Mr. Spring
Mr. Spring: With the exception of the last paragraph, I welcome the general tenor of what the Minister has said. Will he pursue his discussions with his counterparts in Northern Ireland and Britain with regard to seeking some co-ordination of the agencies working abroad? Rather than having them in direct competition which can lead to problems, would he seek to ensure that they work in total co-ordination to attract industry to both parts of this island?
Mr. Reynolds Mr. Reynolds
Mr. Reynolds: Co-operation, yes, but as regards getting too close to Invest in Britain, I am sure that the Deputy himself, as Minister of a former Government, who went abroad on industrial investment promotions, will fully appreciate that we have our business to look after in the international field. The business is  not very plentiful for anybody and I am sure the Deputy would not suggest to me that we give a list, say, of targeted companies to our competitors in the market, to allow them to take the business from us. Practical co-operation is on, certainly, but not to the degree that we would want to get into bed with them.
An Ceann Comhairle Seán Treacy
An Ceann Comhairle: I must call the final question nominated for priority, in the name of Deputy John Bruton.
Dáil Éireann 383 Ceisteanna — Questions Oral Answers Job Creation Agencies.