Longford/Westmeath TD Joe Flaherty
No site has been identified for an IDA Ireland purpose built facility in Longford town but talks with Longford County Council to secure a suitable location are ongoing.
“The agency plans to provide 19 advanced building solutions, ABSs, in 15 locations throughout Ireland over the lifetime of its new strategy, which runs between now and 2024,” Minister Varadkar explained.
“Advanced building solution is a generic term used to describe the range of office, industrial and flexible building solutions being built under the IDA Ireland programme.
"These buildings offer high-quality production space and office accommodation within a landscaped business park and are designed to meet the requirements of the manufacturing, technology, life sciences and other prospective industries.
“In respect of the building in Longford, IDA Ireland is continuing to liaise with Longford County Council and wider stakeholders to seek a suitable site for the proposed ABS. The site selection process is ongoing.”
Deputy Flaherty welcomed the news that an ABS is now a Government priority for inline investment in Co Longford.
“The Tánaiste will agree that the challenge at the moment is to identify a site. Currently, we have in excess of 1,700 IDA Ireland-supported jobs in Longford town, thanks to Technimark, Avery Dennison and Abbott Diagnostics,” said Deputy Flaherty.
“The Abbott plant is a real success story, having just breached the 1,000 employees mark. The local authority owns lands in the vicinity of the Abbott site but the preference is that IDA Ireland would spread its net further and separately facilitate a possible future expansion for Abbott.
“I ask the Tánaiste to encourage IDA Ireland to be ambitious and cast its net wide in search of a site in Longford town.”
Minister Varadkar explained that a site will be acquired, developed and investment secured there by bringing jobs into the town and “the increased spend that come with that”.
“Longford is very much on the priority list. I know the Deputy and Senator Carrigy will make sure we are held to delivery on that,” he said.
Deputy Flaherty, in response, stressed the importance of an “ambitious” plan for the town.
“The message for IDA Ireland from Longford, which I am sure the Tánaiste will pass on for us, is that it needs to be ambitious for the town,” he said.
“There is a great opportunity for us to get an additional FDI facility. As I said, we have 1,700-plus FDI jobs at the moment. There is a real opportunity to attract more and I urge the Tánaiste to pursue that objective aggressively with IDA Ireland.”
The Tánaiste agreed that, while he could not “get too involved” in the acquisition of property, he will emphasis the need for an ambitious approach.
“In total, there are six IDA Ireland supported companies in County Longford employing more than 1,000 people,” he said.
“That is a strong performance by the county in recent years. In addition, the State has been involved in Centre Parcs, which recently announced an €85 million expansion of its Longford forest facility. If we can add another substantial investment to that, we would be making good progress in the county.”
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