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Lack of vision and effort by Government to create Rural Employment – Lonergan

Local Independent County Councillor for Clonmel/Cahir Borough District, Martin Lonergan has criticised the Government for an ongoing lack of vision for the creation of local jobs follow a response received to a Parliamentary Question in relation to Ardfinnan Village which was tabled by local TD, Mattie McGrath.

Commenting on the response Councillor Lonergan said, “When it comes to investment in Ardfinnan in terms of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the IDA, it is been lack-lustre to non-existent over a number of years.

As part of his Parliamentary Question to the Minister, Deputy McGrath at my request, asked her if the Department and the IDA would endeavour to advise companies of the availability of two vacated plants in Ardfinnan Village in particular, and encourage them to locate there.

The response was, lack-lustre to say the least despite the fact that Ardfinnan had over the years up to three strong industries located in the immediate area, the fact that the former Moy ISOVER facility is available, has its own gas supply and has been lying vacant with a number of years and the fact that the old paper factory remains vacant and unfortunately is falling into decline and will become a derelict site if investment is not forthcoming!

Continuing Councillor Lonergan said, “With the costs associated in larger urban areas such as the cost of living, the cost of facilities etc. surely a number of smaller companies would be willing to invest and locate to a more rural area such as Ardfinnan and this needs to be pursued actively by the Department and the IDA. The Minister states that, the IDA would be willing to market a non-IDA Ireland property such as the Moy Isover plant in Ardfinnan if it represents an appropriate option for investors and if its owner or agent so chooses. Surely, I believe that it should be the IDA who approaches and liaises with the relevant owner with proposals for investment if they are so committed to the rejuvenation of rural Ireland as outlined in their ‘Action Plan for Rural Development'!”

“While the Minister confirmed that the IDA are aware of the facility in Ardfinnan, both Deputy McGrath and I remain concerned that not enough vision or effort is been made, indeed not only in Ardfinnan but across the Clonmel/Cahir Borough District,” concluded Cllr. Lonergan.