Fianna Fáil Senator Jennifer Murnane O’Connor has called on the Government to bring forward additional measures to help create new jobs in Carlow and the wider South-East Region.

Senator Murnane O’Connor made the comments after attending a meeting with the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and representatives from the South East Action Plan for Jobs.

Senator Murnane O’Connor said, “Many people in Carlow and the wider South-East Region are yet to experience the economic recovery. Communities are still in considerable economic distress and there is a feeling that the Government’s job creation efforts have been confined to Dublin and other large urban areas.

“I recently attended a meeting with a wide range of stakeholders to discuss the economic conditions in Carlow and the wider South-East and to determine what steps need to be taken to help boost economic growth and job creation in the region. I was shocked to learn that while the IDA has added nearly 52,000 jobs in Ireland over the last five years, just 457 of these have been in the South-East.

“It’s inexcusable that just 0.88% of all new IDA jobs are based in the South-East. This clearly shows that there is a disproportionate focus on the larger urban areas such as Dublin to the detriment of Carlow. This is evident by the fact that there have been just 7 IDA site visits to Carlow so far this year. This isn’t enough, how can we expect to grow jobs in Carlow if the county isn’t being showcased to foreign direct investors?

“Large urban areas are already struggling due to a lack of housing. It makes little sense to focus all our efforts on creating jobs in areas where people simply can’t afford to live or have a decent quality of life. The Government needs to do much more to promote job creation in Carlow and the wider South-East area. The region can support additional job creation which is much needed.

“I’m also concerned by the fact that the South East Action Plan for Jobs committed to creating 25,000 new jobs by 2020. However just 13,000 have been delivered to date. It’s clear that the target set by the Government will be missed. Accordingly we need to see a rethink on the approach that is being taken to encourage economic growth in Carlow and the wider South East region. The current approach lacks ambition.

“The Government needs to refocus its efforts to ensure the economic recovery is spread fairly right across the country,” concluded Senator Murnane O’Connor.