The Argus - - NEWS -


THE in­ter­na­tional press’s per­cep­tion of the bor­der sit­u­a­tion costs Louth in­dus­try over many years, Michael Mul­lally ad­mits at a county coun­cil meet­ing.

How­ever, the IDA re­gional man­ager points out 300 jobs are cre­ated in the man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try in 1988, and he hopes Louth has once and for all turned the corner.

He also re­veals that through an agree­ment with the pri­vate sec­tor, plan­ning per­mis­sion would be sought soon for a 27,000 sq ft ad­vance fac­tory in Dundalk.

Mr Mul­lally states that for the first time since he came to the area, last year saw a halt in the loss of man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs.

He de­scribes job losses in the county over the last eight to ten years as ‘ hor­ren­dous’ but asks coun­cil­lors to be sat­is­fied with the growth in 1988.

There are now good lean, mean ex­port com­pa­nies in Co. Louth which will ex­pand in the years to come.

The IDA man­ager feels they have to look more within the county to pro­vide jobs, as there are peo­ple and com­pa­nies with the dy­namism to grow na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally.

With in­fla­tion at 2.5% and in­ter­est rates 4 to 5% lower than abroad, there should be less need for these in­dus­tries to look out­side Louth for ex­pan­sion.

Deputy Der­mot Ahern says he has been as­sured that Louth is get­ting high pri­or­ity.

He adds that Min­is­ter for In­dus­try and Com­merce Ray Burke is go­ing to the United States and one of his in­ten­tions is to talk to the Har­ris Cor­po­ra­tion about its plans in re­la­tion to Ecco.

Mr Ahern says Louth does have a prob­lem at­tract­ing in­dus­try be­cause of its lo­ca­tion.

Cllr Bernard Markey be­lieves Mr Mul­lally and his team have been downgraded be­cause of the inad­e­quate num­ber of en­quiries di­rected their way from Dundalk.

‘Co. Louth isn’t get­ting a fair crack of the whip,’ he adds.

Deputy Bren­dan McGa­hon points the finger at bu­reau­cracy in Dublin as one of the rea­sons for the de­cline in Dundalk to 32% un­em­ploy­ment.

What is needed is a co­he­sive bor­der area sur­vival pol­icy.

Mr McGa­hon re­marks four mil­lion­aires born and bred in Dundalk should get to­gether and do some­thing for their na­tive area be­fore it is too late.

Mr Mul­lally thinks the des­ig­na­tion for cap­i­tal grants of up to 60% is a good string to the IDA’s bow, while the An­glo-Ir­ish Fund is a pos­i­tive in­flu­ence in the south and he would like to see more use of it in this area.

The Co. Louth En­ter­prise Fund could also make an im­pact, and he de­scribes the de­vel­op­ment of in­cu­ba­tor units at the Re­gional Col­lege as one of the big­gest things to hap­pen in ed­u­ca­tion lo­cally.

He doesn’t be­lieve Louth has been downgraded on the ba­sis of en­quiries.

Mr Mul­lally adds Ja­panese in­vest­ment is one of the most promis­ing sec­tors. The IDA has dou­bled staff re­sources in this area.

The per­cep­tion of the bor­der sit­u­a­tion by the in­ter­na­tional press does noth­ing for in­vestors con­sid­er­ing com­ing here.

Pupils from Dundalk Gram­mar Ju­nior School who raised €1,500 by tak­ing part in the MS Rea­dathon in Jan­uary 2004.

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