Fianna Fáil Deputy Brendan Smith has demanded a much greater focus on job creation in Cavan and Monaghan, after it emerged that the two counties were virtually ignored by the State’s job creation agency, the IDA, last year.

According to new figures received by Fianna Fáil through a series of Parliamentary Questions this week, there were just 2 IDA site visits to Co Cavan in 2013 and 3 visits in 2012. There was only 1 IDA visit to Co Monaghan last year and none at all in 2012.

Overall, 15 new jobs were created in IDA supported companies in Co Cavan in 2013, while 8 IDA jobs were lost so the net increase was just 7 jobs in the entire year. Meanwhile, 29 jobs were created in IDA supported companies in Co Monaghan while 12 were lost.

“These figures reveal a disgracefully low level of interest in tackling the jobs crisis in the Cavan-Monaghan region. It clearly demonstrates that both counties have been side-lined for jobs investment in the past two years,” said Deputy Smith.

“The Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton and the IDA have serious questions to answer. The IDA had a total of 376 site visits in Dublin in 2012/2013, compared to Cavan’s 5 and Monaghan’s 1 visit over those two years. Cork had 69 visits over the same period, while Limerick had 53 IDA visits Galway had 33.

“It is not good enough for the Jobs Minister and the IDA to only take an interest in jobs investment in city areas, while more rural counties continue to suffer. We hear much at the moment about economic recovery, but many people living in Cavan and Monaghan are struggling to see any benefits whatsoever. We still have a jobs crisis in this region, our small local businesses are still under severe pressure, we have seen our local services cut dramatically, families are still struggling to pay basic bills and many young people are still being forced to move away to find work.

“We have seen how IDA attention on a particular area can make a huge difference to job creation in that area. For instance, a big push in Co Louth in 2010, 2011 and 2012 resulted in high profile jobs announcements in the county. This was much needed in Co Louth and the effort must continue. But other counties like Cavan and Monaghan also need this level of attention.

 “For months now I have been pushing for a much greater focus on job creation in Cavan and Monaghan, and my colleagues and I have called on the IDA to take a much better regional approach to their work. What we are seeing at the moment is a two-tier recovery, and this region is on the wrong side of it.”