Ardee Municipal District councillors are to write to the IDA to request a meeting with the agency in relation to attracting Foreign Direct Investment to the town.
The six councillors in attendance at Thursday’s June monthly meeting were unanimous in backing Sinn Fein councillor Tom Cunningham’s motion that an invitation be extended to IDA representatives to come to Ardee and offer an update on plans to bring big business to Ardee.
It was decided that a letter be sent to the IDA requesting a meeting, but councillors were told a similar motion in Drogheda had led to colleagues there being told that IDA officials were unable to attend individual council meetings. The Ardee Municipal councillors will make themselves available to travel to Dublin, if needed.
“I’m calling on the IDA to attend a Municipal District meeting to outline their plans to bring jobs to Ardee to the six councillors,” Cunningham said. “Border counties fare particularly badly when it comes to Foreign Direct Investment. I want to send a message that Ardee is open for business when it comes to jobs. I want to hear directly from the IDA.”
Cunningham’s Sinn Fein colleague Pearse McGeough described the IDA issue as “one of the most significant motions to come before this committee.
“Ardee has been bypassed. This town has been neglected. Brexit will be catastrophic for all 32 counties,” he added. Speaking in April, TD Gerry Adams highlighted how border counties such as Louth suffered when it came to the distribution of IDA investment across Ireland.
Adams said counties like Louth, Monaghan, Donegal, Cavan and Sligo are much, much worse off than other parts of the country. He says the figures show that 9,000 IDA jobs were brought to Dublin last year – compared to just 453 in Louth.
Speaking at yesterday’s meeting, Colm Markey felt that the issue Ardee was experiencing with attracting FDI was being felt elsewhere, including Drogheda who are left in the shadow of Louth neighbours Dundalk.
“IDA has identified significant locations,” he said. “We are on the M1 corridor. We are closer to Dublin airport than Stephen’s Green in terms of travel time,” he said – pointing to some of the logistical points in the town’s favour. “We travelled to Dublin before as a body, we should be prepared to do it again.”
“You have to have a plan going forward or else they won’t listen,” Jim Tenanty added. “The land we have is very small – we have the facility up there at the old Lee Jeans factory. Earmarking land would be beneficial in trying to attract IDA investment.”
Dolores Minogue – who ended her spell as the cathaoirleach of the Ardee Municipal District on Thursday – told the meeting she was 100% behind the motion. Minogue invited Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal Damien English to Ardee when alongside local stakeholders, talks to develop a plan to attract IDA investment were held.
Before the end of the meeting, Cunningham said, “I’d like to thank the members for their support. It’s important we show a united front.”