Aontu leader, Peadar Toibin has hit out at the lack of Foreign direct investment in Meath.

He told Meath Live, “Meath has always been the poor relation when it comes to Foreign Direct Investment. Louth, Kildare and Wicklow are comparable counties in terms of distance from Dublin and populations. However, nowhere in Ireland suffers more in terms of people being forced to leave their county everyday to work than Meath. 35,000 people leave Meath every day to work.

“This is an extraordinarily high level and has a massive cost on families in terms of commuting time. It also costs the county in lost income from a lower rates business base. All this on top of the cost of transport and the environmental costs. The bottom line is we need jobs in Meath.  There has been an increase in FDI in southeast Meath and we welcome the work the IDA and the Council have done on this. However, there are whole swathes of Meath where investment and jobs are extremely thin on the ground”.

“I am particularly concerned over a potential drop in Foreign Direct Investment down the line and the effect this would have on our economy. Covid will have a significant impact on FDI over the next few years. Some have estimated that FDI will fall by 30% over the next few years as people are simply not able to travel internationally. If the Covid crisis continues even in a reduced form over the next few years many businesses will start to plan supply chains to reduce international dependency”.

“The IDA has shown resilience in 2020 with an increase in jobs. However much of this has happened due to Pharma, MedTech, and Technology performing quite well due to the crisis. But site visits are not happening this year or last year. Teleconferencing has been happening but it’s not as rich a communication. The FDI development pipeline for the next few years is being significantly disrupted”.

“Ireland is the eighth most attractive country in Europe for FDI, and a 20-30% fall in FDI would be more keenly felt here than elsewhere. Post crash, FDI was a vital part of our economic recovery, if our FDI levels fell by 20-30%, this could seriously hamper our economic recovery from the next recession. That is why I am calling on the Irish to recognise this threat and intervene to significantly grow out indigenous export sector. Failure to do so now will compromise our economic recovery from Covid-19 and our economic prosperity in the future.”