IDA must prioritise County Clare as a location for Foreign Direct Investment – BREEN.

March 4th, 2010 - Pat Breen

Following the publication this week of “Horizon 2020”, the IDA’s new strategy for attracting foreign investors into Ireland, Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen has called on the Development Agency to prioritise County Clare as a location for foreign direct investment into Ireland, citing the availability of the US Pre Clearance Facilities as opportunity to encourage multinationals to base their Head Offices in County Clare. Deputy Breen has urged the Government to step up to plate and give the County the helping hand it needs by providing additional marketing funding to promote the advantages of the US Pre Clearance facilities at Shannon Airport.

“The IDA has set very ambitious targets for delivering Foreign Direct Investment in their “Horizon 2020” plan which they launched yesterday. By 2014, they are committed to creating 105,000 jobs, investing an annual €1.78BN on R&D investments, ensuring that 20% of Greenfield investments are created from emerging markets and refocusing their efforts on balanced Regional Development by committing 50% of investments to areas outside of Dublin and Cork.”

“While I welcome this re-emphasise on balanced regional development, it is very important that County Clare does not lose out and that this County is prioritised as a location for Foreign Direct Investment. As a first step they should sit down with Clare County Council and Shannon Development and identify potential sites for investment. Unemployment has soared in this County over the past year and it very important now that every opportunity to attract new investments to this County is capitalised on.”

“The arrival of full US Pre Clearance at Shannon Airport for both Scheduled and Business Traffic also offers a unique opportunity for the IDA and other development Agencies like Shannon Development to encourage multinationals to set up their Head Offices here. The majority of multinationals have their own private aircraft and Shannon Airport is the only Airport in the World where business executives can fly in clear Customs and Immigration and fly direct in to local Airports in the United States.”

“The IDA has warned that if they are to succeed in their target to bring 50% of investments outside of Dublin and Cork that the development of infrastructure, the delivery of high speed broadband and competitiveness must not be barriers to success. These are areas where the Government must step up to the plate. This Region must retain a daily direct service to the United States, we need to expand our short haul route network not reduce it; the rollout of next generation broadband is critical and the Region must receive adequate marketing funding. Expecting the Airport itself to market the new Pre Clearance facility at Shannon from within its own limited resources is not good sufficient, I understand that only two people are employed at the Marketing Dept in the Airport. The Government must row in and play their part, by providing additional marketing funding, they would give the Airport and this County the helping hand we need to restore our competitiveness and put us in a strong position to compete for new FDI projects when the opportunity arises.”