Dáil Éireann - Volume 616 - 08 March, 2006

Written Answers. - Industrial Development.

  137. Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position regarding the development of an industrial business park for Ballina, County Mayo which has been ongoing for some time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9722/06]

  Mr. Martin: The management of IDA Ireland’s industrial property portfolio, including the purchase of land and the creation of business parks are day-to-day operational matters for the agency and not matters in which I have a function.

I have been informed by IDA Ireland that it has been in discussions with Mayo County Council regarding the purchase of a site of circa 27 acres owned by the local authority on the Sligo Road, Ballina, County Mayo. As part of an exercise to ensure that the lands are suitable for industrial purposes the agency has completed site investigation works and obtained planning permission for site development works. At present, IDA Ireland is awaiting contract documentation and copy of unburdened title from Mayo County Council.

  138. Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of visits to Ballina for potential industrial developers and many returning personnel in the past three years organised by the IDA; if the town continues to be recognised for investment purposes as a priority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9723/06]

  Mr. Martin: IDA Ireland is the agency with statutory responsibility for the attraction of foreign direct investment to Ireland and its regions. The marketing of individual areas, including Ballina, for new or expansion FDI investments and jobs is a day-to-day operational matter for the agency. While I may give general policy directives to the agency, I am precluded under the Acts from giving directives regarding individual undertakings or from giving preference to one area over others.

I have been informed by the agency that, since January 2003, there have been five site visits to Ballina. IDA Ireland has specifically assured me that it is committed to the development of Ballina and is actively promoting the linked hub towns of Ballina, Castlebar and Westport for new green[717] field investment. In addition, IDA Ireland is actively working with the existing base of overseas companies in Ballina and in County Mayo to encourage them to grow and expand.

However, the decision regarding where to locate is ultimately up to the individual investor and clients looking at Ireland are often only willing to consider larger centres that have the scale, infrastructure and services capable of sustaining their investment. I am confident that the strategies and policies being pursued by IDA Ireland in Ballina and in County Mayo in general, together with the ongoing commitment by Government to regional development, will bear fruit in terms of overseas investment and jobs for the people of Ballina and the county of Mayo as a whole.