Speaking in the Dáil today during Jobs Questions Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín called on the Minister to recommit to levels of investment to reverse the two-tier economy that has deepened under this government’s watch.
The Jobs, Enterprise, & Innovation Spokesperson said:
“A two-tier economy is developing, with people in the border, midlands and west region more likely to experience poverty and unemployment or have a family member emigrate.
The most recent census found a general increase in the population of the State and a decrease in population in many rural areas.
“The majority of new jobs announced by the Industrial Development Agency in the past five years have been located in Dublin and Cork, with a small minority located elsewhere. The question now is will this misguided job creation strategy as pursued by this government under the new CEOs watch.
“While the IDA’s job creation efforts have been positive and successful in recent years, the regionalisation aspect of its strategy has been a disaster.
“The figures speak for themselves. In 2010, some 37% of inward investment was located outside Cork and the greater Dublin area. This figure fell to 27% in 2011 and declined further to 23% in 2012. There has been a paltry improvement in the last year’s figure.
“According to Irish Rural Link, for example, nine out of ten of the young people it deals with are considering emigration. This stark reality coupled with the closure of post offices, schools and Garda stations is having a detrimental effect on rural towns and villages. In turn this trend creates further pressures on our major cities.
“For two years, the Government's Action Plan for Jobs included a target 50% of all investment to be located outside of Dublin and Cork, and have failed to meet this objective have simply given up and reduced it to a third.
“Failure is not an option for those living outside of Dublin and Cork. Fine Gael and Labour Ministers must refocus their efforts for the remainder of this government’s term of office to delivering on their original commitments to rural Ireland.
“Balanced regional development is the only way forward. Reduced levels of investment is having serious effects on the west where and an entire GAA generation is being lost, and this reality is replicated across rural Ireland.”