Last March, in a special report on the IDA’s record in Roscommon, I noted the very low number of site visits by that agency to this county in recent years. The statistics made for grim reading, I wrote at the time. Those damning stats were:
2015: 2 IDA site visits in Co. Roscommon. 2016: 1 site visit. 2017: 3 site visits. 2018: 3 site visits.
Well, it’s not getting any better, I fear. With half of 2019 having elapsed, the IDA hasn’t made a single site visit (with a prospective client) to County Roscommon this year. This really is quite pathetic.
Back in March, the IDA gamely defended its record in Roscommon, rejecting any suggestion that it is ignoring this county, and pointing to the fact that IDA-backed companies employ almost 1,200 people here.
Far from impressed was Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy, who was critical of the miserably low number of site visits, not to mention the lack of development of and at what he called “idle” IDA sites/land in the county.
Now even the main party of Government are giving out about the IDA – or having it both ways, depending on your view.
From Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins (this week): “To date this year, there have not been any visits to Co. Roscommon by IDA client companies. This is simply not acceptable…it is very apparent that not enough is being done to prioritise investment in the county”.
“From my meeting with the IDA, it was very clear that there is a lack of priority regarding job creation in Co. Roscommon”.
“I am not satisfied that the IDA has demonstrated adequate evidence of their work with client companies across our region”.
Senator Hopkins says she has “emphasised strongly” to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys and Minister of State, Pat Breen that the IDA needs to “do more to prioritise job creation in our region”.
We will await developments, if there are any…