Local Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy had described the proposal for the establishment of a task force to deal with the fall out of recent job losses in Ballaghaderreen as a cosmetic exercise that will lead nowhere.
Eugene Murphy said that a direct route to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’ Connor was necessary following the devastating news that 38 jobs are to be lost in Ballaghaderreen with the impending closure of the Exclusive Cigar Manufacturers Ireland plant.
The Fianna Fáil TD said a proposal by Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice to set up a task force with Enterprise Ireland and the IDA to tackle the jobs losses in Ballaghaderreen was short-sighted and would be a useless exercise.
“We all know that these task forces are a waste of time – they are simply a cosmetic exercise which ultimately will lead nowhere. The Government are continuing to ignore the regions in its job creation strategy and we need a direct route to the Minister for Jobs in relation to this matter. Let’s cut to the chase- what have the IDA ever done for this area- look at the facts-there have only been three IDA site visits to Roscommon in 2015 and 2016. In contrast, there were 446 visits in County Dublin over the same period.
“ignored by the IDA”
“There has been no sense of urgency in the Government’s attempts to secure investment for the county and this is blatantly obvious in these figures. Roscommon has all but been ignored by the IDA – there were only three IDA visits to the county since the start of 2015 – making it one of the least visited counties in the country.
“A breakdown of 2015 IDA figures shows the FDI jobs are not being fairly spread across the country. Last September my party tabled a PQ which showed that county by county data of the 187,056 people employed in IDA supported companies in 2015, shockingly 18 counties or nearly 70% of the State accounted for less than 2% of total jobs. There were only 936 IDA jobs in County Roscommon in 2015 which only accounts for 0.5% of the overall figure.
“Unless this Government gets its act together, rural Ireland will continue on this downward spiral. Communities will decline and our young people will be forced to head to larger towns and cities in search of work. There needs to be a rural strategy put in place to ensure that the infrastructure is in place to attract investment and to encourage local businesses to grow. The fact of the matter is this Government has buried its head in the sand in terms of regional development, and Roscommon is suffering as a result- the impending job losses in Ballaghaderreen are just a further example of this and a direct route to the Minister for Jobs is necessary,” concluded Deputy Murphy.