Fianna Fáil TD for Wexford James Browne says Fine Gael is failing to kick-start the economy of the South-East in favour of investment in the Greater Dublin Region.
New figures released to Fianna Fáil reveal that there have only been 10 IDA site visits to Wexford in 2015 and 2016. In contrast, there were 446 visits in Co. Dublin over the same period.
Deputy Browne explained, “These figures confirm something that people in Wexford are well aware of. There has been a complete vacuum of investment in South-East over the past 5 years, and this pattern is continuing under the new Minister for Jobs Mary Mitchell O’Connor. The Government is seemingly pre-occupied on attracting investment to Dublin and the surrounding commuter counties, while allowing the regions to lag behind.
“Counties like Wexford have been all but ignored by the IDA. There have only been 10 site visits to Co. Wexford over the past 2 years. This is having an impact on job creation as potential investors are not being attracted into Wexford. It’s no surprise that the unemployment rate in the South-East 10.4%, significantly higher than the 7.7% for the rest of the country. Furthermore the South-East region accounted for just 13% of employment gains over the last twelve months.
“This Government appears content to ignore Wexford and the wider South-East region. Not only is economic investment well below what’s needed, but essential services like broadband remain unreliable in many areas, particularly outside of large urban areas. Wexford has the 9th highest rate of population in the entire country yet we are not receiving our fair share of IDA investment. The Government needs to direct the IDA to do more to attract inward investment for Wexford.
“The economic difficulty we are experiencing in the South East also highlights the need for additional educational facilities in the region. I firmly believe that we need to put in place a university for the South-East to allow Wexford and surrounding counties to thrive. We need to ensure the necessary infrastructure is developed to allow the South East reach its maximum economic potential.
“Fine Gael and their Government partners need to get serious about investing in the rural economy. Without dedicated job creation initiatives, communities will continue to decline, and young people will leave to go and work in larger towns and cities.
“We need a whole of Government approach to the regions. Quality broadband and attracting investment to the regions go hand in hand. No amount of Government spin will change the fact that not enough is being done”, concluded Deputy Browne.