Councillors at the Ardee Municipal District meeting on Thursday heard that IDA Ireland officials will not attend a future meeting with the body, despite Louth County Council sending an invitation to the Industrial Development Authority.
Instead, they have asked a representative – or representatives – to attend a meeting in the IDA’s Dundalk office at the Finnabair Business Park. In June, Ardee councillors unanimously backed a motion that an invitation be extended to IDA representatives to come to Ardee and offer an update on plans to bring big business to the town.
The local authority, on behalf of the local councillors, extended the invitation to the IDA but that has been turned down with the organisation preferring to ask councillors to come and meet them.
The IDA’s correspondence to the council said they would be willing to meet ‘a representative’ but it is thought that is a typo and all six councillors would be invited to attend.
Sinn Fein councillor Tom Cunningham said he felt let down by the response. “I’m very disappointed with their response,” he said. “I feel as if they’re ignoring the Municipal District. I wouldn’t agree to a solo run, as a group we’re much stronger.”
Jim Tenanty suggested the outcome should come as no surprise. “In 20 years on the town council, they don’t come to meetings,” he said. The councillors were told back in June that is was unlikely that the IDA would attend individual council meetings. A similar invitation from Drogheda was also rejected.
Speaking at June’s meeting, 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.” He added, “Ardee has been bypassed. This town has been neglected.”