Dáil Éireann - Volume 623 - 04 July, 2006

Written Answers. - Industrial Development.

Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the extent and nature of the facilities available in Castlebar, County Mayo, and owned and available to the IDA for use by potential investors; if he has satisfied himself that these facilities are appropriate for a town of its size and population; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25995/06]

  Mr. Martin:IDA Ireland is an autonomous statutory agency set up under the Industrial Development Acts 1986-2003. The Agency operates in accordance with the provisions of the Acts and under the aegis of my Department. Consequently the management of IDA Ireland’s industrial property portfolio, including the purchase of land and the creation of business parks, is a day-to-day operational matter for the Agency and not a matter in which I have a function.

In line with the National Spatial Strategy, IDA Ireland is committed to the achievement of balanced regional development and seeks to attract Foreign Direct Investment into the gateway and hubs as well as a small number of additional towns. In Mayo, the Agency concentrates on the linked hubs of Ballina and Castlebar and on Westport. Through its network of overseas offices, IDA is actively marketing and promoting these towns for Greenfield investment. IDA Ireland has informed me that its sectoral emphasis for the West Region, which includes Mayo, is on attracting new knowledge intensive projects in the Medical Technologies, Life Sciences, Information Communications and Technology and International Services sectors. To ensure that Mayo has appropriate property solutions, tailored to specific key sectoral targets, the Agency is investing significantly in the development of world class Business and Tech[400] nology Parks in a number of towns throughout the county.

In Castlebar, the Agency has developed a Business and Technology Park on a 29-acre site, of which 16 acres are currently available for investment projects. The Agency is satisfied that this facility will be sufficient to service the needs of potential investors in the area for the foreseeable future. Planning permission for the construction of one 20,000 sq. ft. Advance Technology Building and three office buildings has been secured and tenders for the construction of the Advance Technology Building are currently being evaluated.

Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of visits to Castlebar, County Mayo organised by the IDA to facilitate investment there that have been conducted each year since 2000; the number of jobs that have been established as a consequence; the investment involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25997/06]

Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of visits to Ballina, County Mayo organised by the IDA to facilitate investment there that have been conducted each year since 2000; the number of jobs that have been established as a consequence; the investment involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26172/06]

Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment he number of visits to Claremorris, County Mayo organised by the IDA to facilitate investment there that have been conducted each year since 2000; the number of jobs that have been established as a consequence; the investment involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26173/06]

  Mr. Martin:I propose to take Questions Nos. 395, 402 and 403 together.

IDA Ireland is the agency with statutory responsibility for the attraction of foreign direct investment (FDI) to Ireland and its regions. The marketing of individual areas and towns 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.

Since the beginning of 2000 IDA Ireland has facilitated a total of twenty-two site visits by potential investors to the towns of Castlebar, Ballina and Claremorris. Details of these visits are set out in the following tabular statement. One of these site visits resulted in Fort Wayne Metals Ireland (FWMI) establishing in Castlebar Co. Mayo in 2002. The company is a subsidiary of pri[401] vately owned Fort Wayne Metals, the leading manufacturer of guide-wire, which is headquartered in Indiana, USA. Fort Wayne currently employs approximately 30 people at its Castlebar facility. For reasons of commercial sensitivity it is not possible to disclose the investment involved in the project.

In line with the National Spatial Strategy, IDA Ireland is committed to the achievement of balanced regional development and seeks to attract Foreign Direct Investment into the gateway and hubs as well as a small number of additional locations. In Mayo, the Agency is concentrating on the linked hubs of Ballina and Castlebar and on Westport. IDA Ireland has advised me that they are actively working towards maximizing the level of high value sustainable FDI employment opportunities in Mayo and in the West region by investing in the provision of focused property solutions to support this objective. Specifically, IDA Ireland is developing world class Business and Technology Parks in a number of towns throughout Mayo. IDA Ireland’s sectoral emphasis is on attracting new knowledge intensive projects in the Medical Technologies, Life Sciences, Information Communications and Technology and International Services sectors. In addition the agency is also actively working with the existing base of overseas companies in Mayo to encourage them to grow and expand.

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. However, the agency is optimistic in regard to job creation in Mayo from new and expansion projects in 2006. Such projects not only bring high wage jobs but also have knock-on benefits in other sectors such as supply, distribution and transport, thus creating further investment/employment opportunities for local people in the immediate vicinity and surrounding areas.

Number of Site visits in each of the years 2000 to 2005

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

Castlebar

0

1

0

2

5

1

Ballina

1

4

1

3

2

0

Claremorris

0

1

0

1

0

0