New Fine Gael Senator John McGahon has called on Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar to speak before Seanad Eireann on his plans for bringing more foreign direct investment to the region of the M1 Corridor.
In his maiden speech in the upper house – being temporarily held at Dublin’s Convention Centre for the purposes of social distancing – the Dundalk-based Senator drew attention to the M1 Corridor, running between Belfast and Dublin, and which includes Dundalk and Drogheda and re-enforced the need for investment in the region.
“Some 61% of the population is a commuter-ready workforce with third level degrees. It is Ireland’s most densely populated region, with one in three people under the age of 25,” McGahon said. He suggested that, in light of a changing approach to work and commuting in light of the Covid-19 lockdown, there is less desire for long commutes to cities such as Dublin to work.
“By developing the north-east region further, we are hugely reducing the number of people commuting to and working in Dublin. At present 77,000 people travel down the M1, M2 and M3 to commute to Dublin and I firmly believe that we need to try to reduce that number and to attract people further into our regions through jobs and investments.”
McGahon said there were three things that needed to be done to help boost the region; attracting greenfield foreign direct investment, offer multinational companies already in Ireland a second-site location and attract businesses from the UK and Ireland to set up an EU base in the north east.
“A second-site location is where a multinational which is already present in Ireland obtains a second site which it can move into and create further employment in that area. We have to make a real effort to try to attract businesses from Northern Ireland and the UK which may want to have a base within the EU to set up in the area.
“It would be timely if we asked the Tánaiste, Deputy Leo Varadkar, to come to this House in the next couple of weeks to debate his plans for the M1 corridor and how he is going to bring jobs, investment and growth to every region of Ireland.”
According to figures obtained by Fianna Fail TD for Cork North West Aindrias Moynihan earlier this year, Louth hosted 20 IDA visits to potential foreign direct investment sites in 2018 – beaten only by Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Westmeath and Waterford. That figure was trumped between January and September of last year – when there were 32 such visits, double the amount of Westmeath and Waterford.