IDA are failing Co. Leitrim

The IDA may have created 13,000 nationally in 2011 but the story in Co Leitrim was one of job losses and a marked failure to attract new investment.

The IDA may have created 13,000 nationally in 2011 but the story in Co Leitrim was one of job losses and a marked failure to attract new investment.

By Leonie McKiernan

Even more worrying is the fact that in the past few years the IDA has failed to bring any multinationals to Co Leitrim in a bid to encourage further investment.

During a visit to Leitrim last year, a senior Border region manager for the agency confirmed that they had no plans to bring any jobs to the county despite the pleas of a number of local bodies including, Leitrim County Council.

In fact, since 2007 the number of IDA jobs in the county has plummeted. In 2007 there were six IDA companies in Co Leitrim supporting 1,021 jobs. In 2011 the number of companies had dropped to four and the number of jobs has dropped by nearly 25 percent to just 780.

The figures released by the IDA also revealed that while some of these companies had added jobs in the period, the overwhelming picture was one of increasing job losses with the latest figure showing that 199 jobs were lost in IDA companies in the county last year alone.

Investment figures for Co Leitrim were equally bleak. While the agency gave multinational companies €450m nationally in grants to create new jobs in the four years up to 2010, the vast majority of this went to new businesses in Dublin, Cork, Kildare, Galway, Tipperary and Limerick.

In fact, for three or more of these years no grants actually went to either Co Leitrim or our near neighbours, Cavan and Monaghan.

The IDA has always maintained its remit is to attract foreign direct investment, however it claims that investors typically want to base themselves in cities with populations over 1 million, effectively restricting job growth to a handful of centres in the country and eliminating the possibility of new IDA businesses coming to Co Leitrim.

Chairperson of the Co Leitrim Enterprise Board, Cllr Gordon Hughes, has described the figures for the county as “utterly disgraceful” and said it was obvious the IDA were “failing” Co Leitrim.

To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.