THE IDA came in for criticism from county councillors recently, during the reporting of a decision to rezone land near Skibbereen.
Councillors were discussing the proposed changing of Skibbereen’s Local Area Plan to facilitate a planned plastics factory in Poundlick, which had been sought by the IDA.
Skibbereen-based Councillor Joe Carroll welcomed the rezoning of the land by Cork County Council, but he criticised the IDA for their lack of investment in the West Cork region.
‘This zoning change was badly needed in Skibbereen and it’s obvious the IDA has no interest in putting industry into towns like Skibbereen, Bantry and Castletownbere. I want them to come in here to the Council chamber regarding their interest in West Cork. We could become the outback in West Cork due to the lack of investment in the region. We need them to bring more industry to Skibbereen and other West Cork towns.’
Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) also welcomed the re-zoning and said it was good for Cork County Council to take that step.
‘Skibbereen is perfectly placed for industry and all we can do is smoothen the path for industries to come to the town,’ he said.
Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) also welcomed plans for Skibbereen and said it is great to see a local family coming back from the US to set up a factory there.
‘I do concur though with Cllr Carroll, though, that West Cork doesn’t bear high on their list. Dunmanway lost three industries down through the years and having factories in towns like this keeps the community alive. We need to get the IDA to come in and tell us what will they do for West Cork,’ said Cllr Hurley.
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) also expressed his concern about the IDA and West Cork and cited the lack of investment on the N71 as another major impediment for future economic development in the region. He also said the lack of proper broadband and mobile services were also a problem for businesses coming to the region.
‘This project for Skibbereen plans to create up to 50 jobs which is welcomed and will be good for the local economy,’ said Cllr Hayes.
‘We don’t want towns in West Cork to become just commuter towns for people working in Cork city and projects like Ludgate in Skibbereen show there is a can-do attitude in West Cork,’ said Cllr Hayes.
Cllr Mary Hegarty (FG) also welcomed the expansion for Skibbereen. ‘If the IDA showed more interest in West Cork then we would have better services here,’ said Cllr Hegarty.
County Mayor Cllr John Paul O’Shea said the Council would invite the IDA to meet with them.