IDA site to remain idle in Fermoy
For years, Fermoy Town Council members and councillors at local and county level have been lobbying for action in the IDA site in Fermoy, which would create jobs and bring industries into the North Cork town, but this week Minister Michael Noonan told The Avondhu that people need to look beyond IDA factories for employment and look to the strengths of the area.
"I don't think the solution to rural Ireland is to be ambitious for an IDA factory in every town and village, that's not going to happen. What rural Ireland should be built on, I think, is agriculture and food, tourism, construction and retail - these are the things we are good at ourselves.
"That's the way to build it up and then you'll have the big foreign direct investment in different centres," the Minister said on his visit to Mitchelstown with Deirdre Clune, TD Tom Barry and local election candidate Kay Dawson on Monday of this week.
In April, the IDA announced that they would resume building in regional locations with two new developments in Athlone and Waterford, but the Fermoy site was not mentioned and earlier this month, 'enet' revealed research that showed that over 85% of all foreign direct investment jobs announced by the IDA for Cork between 2004 and 2013 were in companies connected to the local Metropolitan Area Network.
In a response to The Avondhu, a spokesperson for the IDA said that IDA Ireland encourages foreign direct investment companies to visit the metropolitan Cork area including towns like Fermoy, Mallow and Youghal, going on to say that the availability of IDA serviced lands offers opportunities for Fermoy to be marketed to both overseas and indigenous companies, but that the client will ultimately make the final decision on choice of location and towns like Fermoy seeking to attract companies can work to present their location in a positive light and give it a clear differentiating factor to set it apart.
IDA's Regional Business Development Manager for Ireland South, Ray O'Connor said that there are ways for a location to continually enhance its offering.
“Even where suitable property solutions are available, the ability to be able to demonstrate the availability of specialist skills in abundance in a location to prospective companies is one of the single most importance considerations.
"Working to improve the skills agenda, getting feedback from all clients on their future needs is essential and influencing second and third level institutes in this area is key. Constantly developing a strong infrastructure is also essential to all business development.
"In addition, everyone can support the drive to attract and support businesses to an area by being an ambassador for North Cork, by networking, listening to business issues and working to address them to ensure a location's offering is better than other locations being considered," he said.
He added that while foreign direct investment is extremely important to economic development nationally, it is not the only means to economic development and the value of supporting growth in indigenous companies, tourism, and agriculture should not be underestimated, saying that a combination of all provides for a much stronger base for economic development and reduces over-reliance in one area of activity.
The issue was also a hot topic at the final Fermoy Town Council meeting, as they received a letter from Ray O'Connor in response to a letter from the town clerk on February 27.
"Regarding my attendance at a meeting of Fermoy Town Council, unfortunately, due to time constraints and workload, I will be unable to facilitate such a request at this time, but have outlined below the IDA assisted companies and employment in the Fermoy area," the letter from Ray O'Connor read.
What followed below, to the dismay of the councillors was a list of jobs announced in 2013-14 across Cork City, Kinsale, Ringaskiddy and Ballincollig, with no reference to any jobs in Fermoy.
The correspondence ended with an attempt at sharing good news, which was shot down by the town councillors. It read: "As you can see, the region had a particularly good year regarding announcements and expansions by overseas companies and because of Fermoy's easy access to the greater Metropolitan area and other locations within the county, Fermoy and surrounding areas will have benefited from such announcements and investments."
Mayor Olive Corcoran described the letter as a joke that was nothing short of an insult, while Cllr Seamus Coleman said that it clearly painted a picture of where the IDA's priorities are.
Cllr John Murphy said that the letter gives bad reading for Fermoy, but on the positive side, he said that letter failed to acknowledge new businesses that have come into Fermoy.
The letter was described as a disappointment, which proved that Ireland was 'dying on its feet' by Cllr Pa O'Driscoll, while Cllr Tadhg O'Donovan said that it was clear that the IDA only want to concentrate in urban areas.
Friday 23rd May 11:18am