‘Inishowen left in splendid isolation’

Sinn Fein Colr Albert Doherty.
Sinn Fein Colr Albert Doherty.

A Donegal County councillor has called for the agency responsible for attracting foreign investment to Ireland to conduct a review of its current policies.

Sinn Fein Councillor Albert Doherty made the call after it emerged that the Industrial Development Agency Ireland (IDA) has no presence in Inishowen.

Muff village, County Donegal. DER2616GS002

Muff village, County Donegal. DER2616GS002

Mr Doherty recently posed a question in relation to the IDA to the County Council asking where the statutory agency was located in Donegal.

By virtue of the response he received it has been revealed that whilst the IDA has premises in Letterkenny, Donegal Town and Ballyshannon, it neither owns nor leases any properties in Inishowen.

The revelation has prompted Colr Doherty to call for a review of IDA policy. He told the ‘Journal’: The IDA has a ‘gateway’ approach which prioritises investment in Letterkenny and this needs to be reviewed.

“The current approach leaves a lot of Letterkenny in the lurch and writes the entire Inishowen peninsula out of the job creation and direct investment story.

“A new approach and job creation rethink is now required.

“The economic and job implications for Donegal and Derry following the Brexit referendum will affect border areas.

“Inishowen has an excellent education base and the proximity to Derry and third-level education opportunities has served the community well. The closeness of City of Derry Airport is a further bonus.”

The Sinn Fein representative also called for a joint north-south approach to marketing and investment for the whole North West region.

“The treaty of 1921 left Donegal in splendid isolation and it is time that the IDA and Enterprise Ireland began to look positively on the border areas.

“After Brexit I believe there is uncertainty from Newry to Muff. The way I have always seen it is that a job created in Lifford was good for Strabane and a job created in Inishowen is good for Derry.

“A lot of our young people have left Inishowen and we need to attract them back somehow.

“Inishowen is often referred to as being equal in size to Co Louth and with the same population as all of Co Leitrim.

“So, it is time that the government in Dublin and its agencies began to look at these policies again,” he concluded.

IDA Ireland is the organistion responsible for attracting and developing direct foreign investment and is partnered with over 1,000 companies around the globe covering a variety of business sectors.