“Until the Government actively directs the IDA to prioritise the delivery of foreign direct investment into regional Ireland, we will continue to see a two-tier Ireland where the east of the country has the jobs and the west of the country has empty space,” said the Fianna Fáil Business Spokesperson, Niall Collins.

“Over 50% of all IDA site visits went to Dublin, Meath, Louth and Kildare in 2017. I don’t for a minute begrudge these counties their shot at attracting investment but if we are serious about bringing well-paying jobs to regional Ireland, we need to show these enterprises that there are options outside of the Capital.

“Of the 682 site visits that took place in 2017, 327 took place in Dublin, with a further 37 in the counties of Louth, Kildare, Meath and Wicklow.

“The last and current Fine Gael governments have a consistent record of ignoring the regions. Between 2011 and 2017, 48% of all IDA site visits were to the Greater Dublin Area.

“There is a dearth of office and industrial space all across the west, south and centre of this country. In addition, we have the graduates and skilled workers needed to support these enterprises.

“I do not believe that potential multinational investors are coming to the IDA and saying ‘we want to be in Dublin only’.

“Why would they realistically want to base their business in Dublin now with all the challenges that come with living in Capital now? Exorbitant and every increasing house prices, creaking infrastructure and a severely hampered quality of life are all the hallmarks of living in Dublin in 2017.

“The soon to be announced National Planning Framework will need jobs in the regions to ensure that people want to live there. It’s the only way to entice people to move to cities and counties outside of the Capital,” concluded Collins.