Fianna Fáil has said that the Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation should insist on the right to vet the credentials of the next IDA chief executive.
The party’s Spokesperson on Jobs Dara Calleary has said Minister Richard Bruton should give a commitment that the Government’s nominee will be presented to the committee for a hearing on the future development of the IDA and inward investment to Ireland, before any appointment is confirmed.
Deputy Calleary said: “The outgoing chief executive of the IDA Barry O’Leary has been in place since 2008 and led the agency during a very difficult time for the country. With the jobs crisis still the biggest problem facing the country the question of who will fill the role for the years ahead is an extremely important issue. I believe the Oireachtas Committee on Jobs should insist on its right to examine the credentials of the next IDA chief executive and if the Government is serious about political reform it will submit its nominee for scrutiny.
“There are significant regional inequalities which have seen certain areas miss out on possible foreign direct investment opportunities in the last couple of years. Figures I received from a Parliamentary Question show that over the last two years there were 33 IDA sponsored site visits to counties in the north and west (Sligo 16; Donegal 8; Roscommon 4; Mayo 4; Leitrim 1) compared to almost 380 for Dublin. In fact there were over 570 site visits to cities across the country while a region like the Midlands got a total of 22.
“We need to see a more balanced regional investment strategy from the Government. What chance do counties have of attracting new investment if they’re not even on our own Government’s radar?
“Areas like the North West and Midlands have a lot offer potential investors but they have to be part of the IDA’s pitch in the first place. There has been significant investment over many years in providing road, rail and technology infrastructure so that these areas are better placed to attract new firms and boost employment.
“These are all issues the Jobs Committee should be able to address with the next chief executive of the IDA before a final appointed is made by Government. Submitting the chief executive-designate for scrutiny at the Committee would be an important statement by the Government – that it takes accountability, transparency and political reform seriously. I will be raising this with the Committee Chairman Damien English and seeking support from members for a motion at the committee that the Government agree to submit its nominee for a hearing when he or she is selected.”