Fianna Fáil Jobs Spokesperson Dara Calleary has said the top priorities of the new head of the IDA must include a strategy to protect the Irish pharmaceutical sector from the threat of asset buying companies and to address the serious regional imbalances in job creation.
Welcoming Martin Shanahan’s appointment as IDA Chief Executive, Deputy Calleary said his first task must be to take decisive action to address the challenges in the pharmaceutical sector and to undertake a complete re-examination of regional priorities within the agency.
“Martin Shanahan is a highly qualified professional who will bring a wealth of experience and integrity to this role. I want to wish him the very best as he takes on his new responsibilities,” said Deputy Calleary.
“I am disappointed that the Government refused my calls last February to ensure that the nominee for the top IDA job would be given the chance to appear before the Oireachtas Jobs Committee before the appointment was finalised. Given that the ongoing jobs crisis remains the biggest challenge facing the State, I believe the cross-party Committee could have played a strong role in examine the credentials and hearing the priorities of the new IDA chief.
“There is no doubt that Martin Shanahan is well qualified for this crucial role and will bring important insight into what is needed at the agency. One of his first tasks must be to achieve a much greater regional balance when it comes to IDA investment. Figures I received from a Parliamentary Question show that for the past two years, there were 33 IDA sponsored site visits to the entire North West region compared to almost 380 for Dublin. In fact there were over 570 site visits to cities across the country while the Midlands got a total of 22.
“I am also calling on Mr Shanahan to make the crisis in the Irish pharmaceutical sector a top priority. Decades of work has gone into creating Ireland’s position as a hub for global pharmaceutical firms, and our economy has benefited enormously as a result. Unfortunately the jobs created in this sector are now under threat by asset-buying companies that are concerned only by their bottom line.
“Mr Shanahan has the opportunity now to overhaul the IDA’s priorities and take decisive steps to address the widen gulf between the economic recovery experienced in Dublin and the lack of recovery in regions outside the capital.”