IDA Ireland promotes the North West region as a location engaged in a proactive, partnership approach to deliver on the access, education and lifestyle services that attract inward investment. The North West region comprises counties Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim with a total population of 257,975 and 36 IDA client companies. The focus for IDA is the gateway locations of Letterkenny and Sligo. Part of this focus also includes the continued building of stronger links with our counterparts in Northern Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland, to develop initiatives which will promote the linked gateways of Letterkenny and Derry. IDA Ireland’s Business and Relationship Development Manager for the North West Region, John Nugent points to the availability of people, the flexibility of the workforce to learn new skills and the partnership approach of all business agencies and local authorities across the region as critical to delivering new inward investment to Donegal.
“The agency’s emphasis is to build up an international and financial services cluster and is we are making strides in delivering on this, evidenced by the existing companies and the various expansion announcements by Pramerica, SITA and UnitedHealth Group. In addition IDA is actively promoting Letterkenny as a location for high-end manufacturing. Zeus Industrial Products Inc. for example, has developed its European Operations Centre for the production and distribution of precision products for a range of industries in Letterkenny and in late 2010 announced an investment of €10m and the creation of an additional 75 jobs.”
The third level educational institutions in the region are extremely positive and proactive in responding to the development needs of the region by offering programmes and initiatives that are significantly increasing skill sets in the region. They are consistently responding to the need to establish new areas of activity in the region in the continued move to a higher skills and knowledge economy. IDA works closely with and fully acknowledges the substantial contribution being made by Enterprise Ireland, the local County Enterprise Boards and FAS - the National Training and Advisory Agency - in the provision of relevant courses.
John Nugent concluded by saying that Ireland was competing in a globally networked economy, which was creating an ever-increasing number of location choices for business. “The global economy and in particular the European economy, which is the primary target market for FDI clients in Ireland, is in a low growth phase. The challenge for IDA is to win FDI in this low growth environment. We are in competition with cities or city regions with populations over a million that have the universities, international airports and the extensive business, social and cultural infrastructures. In order to attract mobile investment in an intensely competitive global environment, it is essential that we successfully work together to foster an attractive business environment for overseas investors. Partnership is key to the continuous improvement and development of the county for investment.”