Calleary discovers Mayo has had only seven IDA visits to potential sites in the county between January and October of this year

Will the Ballina-based deputy leader of Fianna Fail, now use the negotiations for an extension of the confidence and supply deal to obtain a fairer distribution of new industry now largely confined to Dublin?

Sligo News File.

We imagine it must have come as a shock to Ballina-based TD Dara Calleary to discover that there have only been seven IDA visits to Mayo this year.

Mayo TD Dara Calleary

So, now, that he knows, what more is he going to do about securing fresh Foreign Direct Investment backed industrial activity for the clearly job-starved county?

He is not, of course, the only Oireachtas representative around; there’s also Michelle Mulhern and Paddy Burke, Fine Gael senators, Fine Gael TD’s Michael Ring and Enda Kenny, and Fianna Fail TD Lisa Chambers. Quite a large bunch there, yet the area is getting a relatively raw deal on job creation developments.

Ballina, Castlebar and most of the other Mayo towns have witnessed the closure of numerous commercial and retail businesses that arguably could have survived if the areas had the benefit of more industry and key service operations.

Roscommon and Leitrim are other areas on which Sligo News File has repeatedly focussed attention. Just two IDA visits to Roscommon so far in 2018, no better for Leitrim. Sligo has had announcements of developments but the potential employment, welcome as it is, in no way equals the phenomenal number of jobs lost to the region since 2011 and before.

However, there isn’t, in this, much evidence of the rural revival about which the Fine Gael-led government keeps blathering on. More frustratingly, the decline of rural regions is happening while more and more new industry and service sector business is being crammed into sites in Dublin. Indeed, the intensity of it is so high that the government is now targeting the River Shannon as a source to supplement the water shortage the region is experiencing because of the demand its expanding economy and the ever-growing industrial base is making on the city’s water supply.

Peter Casey, Soon to be Taoiseach? Along soon?

Still, though, some credit to Calleary for highlighting the disturbing lack of IDA visits. However, as one of the Fianna Fail team currently negotiating for an extension of the confidence and supply agreement with the government maybe he – and Chambers – would make a pitch to have the west and north-west prioritised as the location for a share of the industrial and commercial operations now being sucked up by the capital.