Updated: 23/03/17 : 05:59:32
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Tony, Mary joust yet again on jobs plans for Sligo

Special Report

THE IDA's newest advance factory in Sligo town will be finally finished construction in a fortnight.

The bad news is that there is no specific tenant lined up, it would seem.

But Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor did give Sligo a thumbs-up when on an American promotional tour last week.

Local Fine Gael TD Tony McLoughlin raised the issue in the Dáil on Tuesday afternoon.

Verbal Fisticuffs

Both Taoiseach Enda Kenny -- on the Church feast day of Saint Enda -- and his Jobs Minister, Mary Mitchell O'Connor responded.

Last time Tony and Mary discussed new jobs for Sligo it descended to verbal fisticuffs between the duo. See link below.

The Sligo TD was adjudged by most of his party colleagues to have won that dressing down for his Minister, hands down, last October.

On Tuesday he lobbed a (loaded) question in the direction of the Taoiseach himself, on the same issue.

Growth Centre

Said Deputy McLoughlin: ''The programme for Government contains plans to address issues such as attracting new jobs to Ireland.

''Specifically into rural areas while increasing overall development in towns and villages across the country. 

''On that basis, will the Taoiseach advise the House on the progress in efforts made to promote the new advance IDA factory in Sligo to potential foreign clients, given that it is now only two weeks from completion?

''Will he briefly advise if County Sligo should be considered as a growth centre in the Ireland 2040 plan,'' asked Deputy McLoughlin.

Hmm. The Taoiseach chose the scenic route in his (wordy) sentences. 

''With regard to the 2040 consultation,'' said the Taoiseach, ''I have already made it publicly clear that this is an opportunity for the Sligo region to put forward its case for inclusion as a growth centre in the consultation currently under way. 

''This is not a case of pitting town against town, as happened before.

''There are opportunities for every region and Sligo is one of those potentially very major centres, with access in terms of roads to be completed and so on. 

''The fact that the advance factory is almost completed is an advantage for Sligo. 

''I will ask the Minister, Deputy Mitchell O'Connor to give Deputy McLoughlin an indication of the interest being expressed in filling that location with jobs.''

Said the Minister: ''I thank Deputy McLoughlin. The Deputy has brought it up for debate later today. I will be answering the same question.

''Sligo is on the IDA Ireland list. We are promoting it. I myself promoted it on two occasions in the past week in the US.

Good Clients

The Deputy has a wonderful facility there. He will be aware that I visited the facility and other facilities in Sligo.

''I also met the chamber of commerce and the local trading organisation there and I am confident that IDA Ireland will be able to get good clients.

''As Minister, I remind the House it is not only IDA Ireland. Enterprise Ireland is a very good enterprise agency and is also bringing jobs to a community, as are the LEOs (Local Enterprise Offices).

''We are there with IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the LEOs to try and make sure that we land jobs in regional areas,'' concluded the Minister.

Link: See Sligo Today 13/10/2016.