6,570 new jobs were created by the Industrial Development Authority in the Republic last year but, for the second year in a row, not one of these was in Inishowen.
With the unemployment rate in Donegal twice that the national average Buncrana TD Padraig MacLochlainn says ‘you would think there would be some sense of urgency about addressing the seriousness of our situation’ but, he claimed, he could ‘detect none’ amongst the powers that be.
And he added: “Where we are now is definitely not acceptable.”
He told the ‘Journal’ last night: “The media and various commentators have described our national unemployment rate as a ‘crisis’ so we must be experiencing a ‘seriously profound crisis’. Despite massive emigration we now have 28% of our workforce on the live register. That’s not on.”
Deputy MacLochlainn went on: Minister Bruton and the IDA top brass cannot simply keeping trotting out the same old rubbish while the very life blood of this area drips out.”
Stating that ‘it was the same old story’ in regard to the rural parts of the county the Sinn Fein representative said that the IDA’s focus was on ‘gateway towns’ so the only areas they were focusing in the North West were Sligo in Letterkenny.
He said he could not understand why Inishowen was not getting the promotion it deserved, pointing out there were also zero site visits by potential investors last year.
“The vast majority of visits took place in the greater Dublin area, Cork and Galway. And needless to say this is where most of the jobs went.”
The Buncrana man said he couldn’t understand why Inishowen was being by-passed: “We have a lot to offer. We have a well educated young population. Inishowen is strategically placed between Letterkenny and Derry where there are two superb institutions, Letterkenny Institute of Technology and Magee College.
“In this county we already have two superb examples of dynamic people who have delivered - Henry McGarvey at Prumeria where a thousand jobs have been created and Paul Hannigan who has taken LYIT to a whole new level in terms of innovation with his energy and vision.”
Stating that he wanted to build on this positivity Deputy MacLochlainn said the Donegal diaspora should be asked to play a part in creating the environment for economic recovery
“People like Henry and Paul have led the way and we should be getting in touch with those Donegal people - Donegal Co. Council has a lot of their contacts - and selling this county in terms of what it has to offer.
“We are not asking these people to do us favours; they will benefit by coming here.
“40 per cent of all inward American investment to Ireland comes not from the old traditional ‘Irish’ cities of New York and Boston but Silicon Valley in California.
“The Silicon Valley Bank has 500m. ready to invest in Ireland. I have met them and they are looking for the right projects. These people are serious players who could make a massive difference. Has the IDA approached them about the potential in Donegal? I don’t know but I would doubt it.”