“Despite consistent handwringing from Fine Gael ministers based in rural Ireland, the percentage of IDA site visits going to the Greater Dublin Area continues to exceed 50%,” said Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Billy Kelleher TD.

Deputy Kelleher was commenting as the latest figures from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation confirmed what everyone in rural Ireland knows to be true – the IDA is ignoring potential investment opportunities by not bringing multinationals to visit.

“To date in 2018, 162 of the 307 IDA site visits were to the Greater Dublin Area of Dublin, Louth, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow.

“The net result of this apparent bias is the continuation of a two-tier economy – a booming Dublin and Greater Dublin Area in contrast to an at best stagnant rural and regional Ireland outside the commuter belt.

“53% of all of the IDA’s site visits went to the GDA. It’s no wonder that it receives the greatest level of foreign investment.

“Government ministers will chime in with their usual response – there is investment happening in Galway, Cork or Limerick. No one disputes that but what about Longford, Roscommon, Tipperary or Laois?

“Sadly, this is nothing new. 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.

“Dublin is choking. The cost and lack of housing in the capital is diminishing competitiveness. I don’t believe foreign investors come to the IDA begging to see properties in the GDA. The IDA need to change tack and put forward a better case to FDI investors about the merits of investing in rural and regional Ireland,” concluded Kelleher.