Fianna Fáil TD for Waterford Mary Butler says the government is continuing to push a two-tier approach to job creation, particularly in the South East.
She raised the issue directly with Junior Minister John Halligan in the Dáil last week.
“The South East, and Waterford in particular, is still struggling to attract foreign direct investment. Despite the fact that Dublin is at a tipping point in terms of housing and services, the government is continuing to focus all its energy into attracting new investment for the capital and the Greater Dublin Area”, said Deputy Butler.
“The latest information available relating to IDA site visits spells this out very clearly. Up until the end of October last year there were 19 visits to Waterford. Compare that to 25 visits to Limerick, 42 to Galway and 45 to Cork. It is also worth noting that in the same timeframe there were 209 site visits in Dublin. There is a complete lack of joined up thinking at government level when it comes to regional investment and job creation.
“Waterford should be used as a release valve for Dublin. We have an extremely talented and highly skilled workforce, combined with excellent rail and road links. We have Rosslare Europort on our doorstep, but are failing to maximise its full potential.
“45% of economic growth was generated in Dublin last year, as Waterford continued to lag behind. Waterford failed to keep in line with the pace of job creation in other cities – it saw less than a third of the jobs created in Limerick and a quarter of those created in Galway, despite the fact that Waterford’s population is at least half that of both Limerick and Galway.
“There needs to be a renewed focus in terms of job creation for Waterford and the southeast, especially in terms of Brexit, which is less than two months away”.