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Wednesday, 6th February 2019

Drogheda bears the brunt of Louth’s €48m missed government investment

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A "persistent negative investment bias" being shown toward Drogheda

A group of business people in Drogheda has released shocking figures which indicate that in the ten years to 2018, on a population pro rata basis, Louth has missed out on €48.1m of Government Enterprise (IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Louth LEO) investment and that most of that loss was in Drogheda.

The group, Love Drogheda, which is working hard to establish a Business Improvement District (BID) in Drogheda, has written to the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, requesting a meeting in Drogheda to discuss this issue and future investment plans for the town.

Previously the Love Drogheda BID group requested data from the Minister on the investment made by the Enterprise agencies - IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Office in County Louth for each of the years 2008 to 2018.

Some of the shocking revelations in the figures include that, of the €311m invested nationally in 2017, Louth received just €4.3m. If the investment had been done on a pro rata basis the group say that Louth should have received €8.4M

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“While we expected the investment to be less than the national average, we did not expect there to be such a significant negative bias over a 10 year period” the group say.

“We estimate that in the 10 years to 2017 there was an under- investment of €48.1M in Co Louth” the spokesperson said.

He added that there is a “persistent negative investment bias in Drogheda over the 10 years and he claims this is promoted by Government.

The group also points out that all of the Enterprise offices – IDA, Enterprise Ireland and Louth LEO - are located in Dundalk

“IDA Ireland market the region as ‘Invest in Dundalk’ and did not make any investment (zero) in Drogheda in 2013 and just €35k in 2014 and €34k in 2017.

“The total investment made in grants, in Ireland, by these organisations in 2017 was €311M as per their accounts. This under investment coupled with the fact that none of the enterprise agencies have a presence in Drogheda, add to the strongly held belief that our city is being left behind.

“IDA Ireland’s office in Dundalk, promotes the county as “Invest in Dundalk” on their website, and claim Drogheda companies such as Becton Dickinson, Yapstone, MTI, Irish Cement, Boyne Valley Foods, Nature’s Best and Coca Cola.

“In 2017, IDA Ireland placed one of their few remaining assets in Drogheda, Co Meath up for sale – a clear sign of it’s future intentions for our City.

“There are 1,551 rateable properties in Drogheda as at December 2018. Many of Drogheda’s businesses pay significant sales, payroll, corporate and local taxes and rates. People living and working in Drogheda pay income tax. These taxes are part funding many of these enterprise agencies.

“It is reasonable to expect a pro rata investment over a sustained period of 10 years. While we accept some of the investments may be lumpy, this does not explain persistent under investment over a 10 year period, in Co Louth.”

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