No Jobs

I read an article in today’s Journal by Pat McArt that said that not a single job was created by the Irish Development Agency in Donegal in 2013. It seems that if Donegal got its fair share of IDA jobs there should have been 468 extra jobs in Donegal and 115 extra jobs in Inishowen just last year.

Indeed Gerry Lynnot’s corner shop creates more jobs in Donegal than the IDA.

Huge Success

Let me say now that the IDA has been a huge success. Many years ago it decided to concentrate in the technology area (a great call) and now there are extra 100,000 jobs in Ireland from foreign firms like Google investing here.

Indeed, of all US investment in technology in the EU, Ireland gets 25% of it with only 1% of its population. This is mainly down to the IDA. It’s done a fantastic job. Indeed it is chiefly responsible for that recently missing beast, the Celtic Tiger.

All Pain, No Gain

Now, in saying that, the Celtic Tiger, created and nourished by the IDA, never got up this way. Perhaps it was stopped at the border. If it did get up here it ate all the fish and disappeared south again.

Donegal had to take all the pain, via its fishing industry, and never got any of the gain from the Celtic Tiger years.

I must say that I have tremendous confidence in the Irish economy. I think it will bounce back quicker than most people think.

Ireland and its people were ruthlessly robbed by the big EU powers and the big EU banks. However, the jobs created by the IDA haven’t gone away and the reasons that foreign technology firms came here previously hasn’t gone away either.

Different Tack

However, the IDA should start looking at how they should share out their largesse to more areas in the country. It seems that Donegal Deputy Padraig Mac Lochlainn and his Fianna Fail college Charlie McConalogue are going to ask questions of the Minister in the Dail about it.

Perhaps they should take a slightly different tack on it. I would doubt if the IDA is stacked full of Donegal haters. I would doubt if the Minister, Bruton, is a Donegal hater either. Most people that come here like it.

It’s just that it is up past Northern Ireland. It is a case of out of sight, out of mind.

Plan of Action

Perhaps what the Deputies could do is to ask for a meeting with the Minister and the IDA with the agenda of looking to see how the IDA could bring jobs to Donegal.

They could find out, first of all, if there are any reasons in the past for IDA jobs not coming here (other than not knowing where it is). They could ask if there was a possibility of cross border co-operation between the IDA nd whatever the equivalent is in Northern Ireland to bring IDA jobs to the Derry and Donegal area.

Derry had the Kelvin Project which brought superfast broadband to the area. Now they can build a science park and try to bring the all the companies like the big banks and insurance companies who need fast transaction processing to potentially come te the area.

The big transaction process could take advantage of the superfast broadband plus the highly educated and lower cost workforce. If Derry hits the jackpot it will benefit the whole area and there will be lots of potential ancillary industries coming here too. Of course, this area would need super broadband too.

Working Together

It would be better to work wih the IDA and the northern equivalent to get a plan of action rather than to just have a bloody good bellyache and ask “where’s our jobs?”.

If there was a good action plan then I’m sure the IDA would co-operate. I wonder if Padraig Mac Lochlainn knows a chap called Martin McGuinness from Derry. It might be worth putting together an action plan to go to the IDA with.

If they turned tha down then it would be time to get angry – but it’s always best to assume goodwill first rather than bad will from the off.