The Irish Independent reports
that new figures provided by the IDA show a number of blackspots around the
country that are missing out on jobs created through foreign direct investment
Last year, the IDA recorded its strongest net job
performance in a decade, helped by 11,766 jobs created in client firms.
However, the statistics provided by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and
Innovation Richard Bruton show that not a single IDA job was created in north
Tipperary last year – south Tipperary fared little better where only 10 IDA jobs
The figures – provided in a written Dail response to Deputy Joe McHugh (FG) –
show that three other counties recorded new IDA jobs of less than five with one
IDA job created in Leitrim, two in Laois and three in Monaghan.
The figures show that Dublin continues to dominate, grabbing 6,389 – or 54pc –
of the IDA jobs created last year.
Dublin was far ahead of the second-best performing centre Cork – where 1,979, or
17pc, of the overall FDI jobs were located.
Galway was the only other centre to record in excess of 500 IDA jobs created
with 859 jobs – 400 jobs were created in Limerick followed closely by Louth with
A spokesman for the IDA said yesterday: "A county-by-county breakdown of job
creation trends reveals virtually nothing about how Ireland is performing in
He said: "IDA doesn't market individual counties to foreign investors, but sells
the attributes of regional gateway locations, hence reliance on county-by-county
data alone presents an entirely incomplete picture.
"The opportunity for many locations outside of Dublin and Cork remains with the
existing base of multinational companies which IDA works with on an ongoing
basis with a view to ensuring their operational sustainability, job retention
"In that context, 2012 saw the lowest amount of job losses from IDA's portfolio
in over a decade as existing employers, many of them in regional locations,
embedded their operations in Ireland even further."
He added: "With regard to new name business, the final decision on where to
locate an investment ultimately resides with the client company, despite IDA
efforts and financial support available in some regional locations."
Fianna Fail Laois-Offaly TD Sean Fleming last night said that the IDA's record
in Laois "is abysmal and disgraceful".
Two jobs were created in IDA companies in Laois last year and Mr Fleming said:
"The minister should instruct the IDA to include Portlaoise as one of the
priority towns for investment in the Midlands along with Athlone, Tullamore and
Independent TD for Roscommon-South-Leitrim Denis Naughten said last night that
"far more needs to be done to make areas like Leitrim attractive to
One IDA job was created in Leitrim last year and Mr Naughten said: "Not only in
terms of IDA marketing the region, but the area's broadband and gas
infrastructure needs to be improved to make it more a level playing pitch with
the large urban centres."
Mr Naughten said that the IDA's efforts in south Leitrim have been taken up with
trying to protect existing jobs at the Bank of America's operation in Carrick on
Independent also reports that savers will be the big losers from the ECB
decision to cut its key lending rate.
Deposit rates have been falling every month for more than a year, as banks
attempt to improve their profit margins.
Experts said yesterday's cut would prompt a new round of deposit-rate
And ECB president Mario Draghi hinted that he may take the unprecedented step of
charging banks to park excess cash with the ECB overnight.
So-called negative deposit rates would be instead of paying interest to banks
that deposit spare funds with the ECB.
He also hinted that another cut in the main lending rate is possible.
Simon Moynihan of comparison site Bonkers.ie said savers have been badly hit.
They now earn substantially less on their money than a year ago with interest
rates now almost 1.5pc lower than May last year.
Among the best rates on offer at the moment is the 12-month fixed rate from KBC
Bank paying 2.8pc. But this is down from 4.15pc last year. Nationwide UK Ireland
is paying 2.75pc for its 12-month fixed rate.
Deposit interest retention tax (DIRT) is now 33pc and inflation is 0.5pc, which
means most savers are losing money by putting money on deposit.
The Irish Times
reports that 400,000 homeowners on tracker mortgages will benefit from the 0.25
per cent interest rate cut announced by the European Central Bank yesterday but
none of the State’s main banks have plans to pass the rate cut on to variable
A similar number of homeowners have such mortgages and the gulf in interest
rates between them and those on trackers is now as high as 3 per cent – a gap
which will see a person with a €300,000 variable rate mortgage paying more than
€500 a month more on loan repayments than someone with a tracker of the same
In a widely anticipated move, the ECB cut
its main interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point to 0.5 per cent, a
record low. While the rate cut was aimed at providing a shot in the arm for the
European economy it will also reduce mortgage repayments for hundreds of
thousands of Irish people with tracker mortgages tied to the Central Bank’s
For every quarter of a point the ECB lowers its rates, the monthly cost of
servicing a €100,000 tracker mortgage falls by about €15 so the average tracker
mortgage holder with an outstanding loan of €300,000 will see monthly savings of
€45 from the beginning of next month.
As a result of the move – the fourth such
rate reduction in the last 18 months – a person with a €300,000 tracker mortgage
is now paying about €180 a month less than in the autumn of 2011, which amounts
to a total annual saving of more than €2,100.
While the cut will be automatically passed on to tracker mortgage holders,
people with variable rate mortgages are at the mercy of individual banks and
with banks pushing variable rate mortgages up irrespective of the course of
action being followed by the ECB, the possibility of rate cuts being rolled out
across the board seems remote.
Rachel Doyle of the Professional Insurance
Brokers Association said that while the announcement was “very welcome for those
on tracker mortgages, the impact will be marginal by comparison with what the
Irish banks are attempting to do with variable rates”.
Department of the Environment official Mary Moylan
sat on the board of the DDDA to represent the public interest. She appeared
before the PAC yesterday to unveil the chain of events that led to the DDDA — a
State body — entering into a 26% joint venture (JV) with the now-bankrupt
developer Bernard McNamara in one of the biggest loss-making property deals in
the history of the State.
The issue of most concern to Irish consumers now, she added, “is Irish bank
interest rates which have been creeping up surreptitiously.
“In recent days under cover of the potential ECB rate cut we have seen AIB and
EBS move to increase rates by 0.4 per cent and 0.25 per cent consecutively,
which comes into effect from the beginning of June.”
The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association called on the Government to
take the “strongest action possible” to force banks to pass on the reduction.
Asked whether Minister for Finance Michael Noonan had any comment on whether
banks should pass on the rate cut to standard variable rate customers, his
spokesman indicated he would not be intervening.
“This is purely a commercial matter for the banks,” the spokesman said.
AIB, EBS, Permanent TSB and Danske Bank said that while they kept rates under
review they had no plans to lower them. Ulster Bank was unavailable for comment.
The ECB also signalled yesterday that further interest rate cuts could be on the
The Irish Times also reports that there was good news
for the Irish jobs market today with the news that almost 300 jobs would be
created around the country at three different firms.
Irish software company FeedHenry said it will create up to 100 jobs over the
next two years as part of a €7 million investment in the firm.
The company, which provides a cloud-based platform that enables large businesses
to build and deploy mobile apps integrated with their business data, said most
of the jobs will be located in its Waterford and Dublin offices, bringing the
number employed by the company to 140.
The funding round was led by Intel Capital and was also backed by existing
investors Kernel Capital, VMWare, Enterprise Ireland and a number of private
investors. ACT Venture Capital invested from its AIB Start Up Accelerator Fund
The investment will help FeedHenry to speed up the pace of its international
roll-out of its cloud mobile application platform.
Recruitment for the new positions will begin immediately, with the company
seeking software engineers, project managers and business analysts
“This investment will allow us to accelerate our growth plans across Europe and
North America, and continue our commitment to a research and development base in
the south-east,” said FeedHenry CEO Cathal McGloin.
Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton welcomed the investment, describing the company
as "a great example of how a research project can grow to become a successful
FeedHenry began as a research and development project in the Telecommunications
Software and Systems Group (TSSG) in Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT). In
November 2010, it was spun out, and was backed by the Bank of Ireland Seed Fund
managed by Kernel Capital the following year.
Last month, Feedhenry was named winner of the Red Herring Top 100 Europe award,
joining firms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Skype, Salesforce.com,
YouTube and eBay.
“We recognised from the outset that FeedHenry fills a void in the mobile
enterprise market by giving enterprises the opportunity to leverage the power of
both mobile and cloud to develop employee and consumer facing apps, all from a
single platform," said Niall Olden, managing partner of Kernel Capital. "This
Series A investment is a demonstration our continued commitment to support
ambitious, export-focused high-growth Irish companies.”
Separately, car parts and accessories e-commerce retailer MicksGarage.com said
it was investing €2.3million investment in an expansion that would create 65
jobs over the next two years.
The expansion plans include localised MicksGarage websites for nine European
markets including France, Germany and Sweden.
The online retailer made the announcement as it opened a new 32,000 sq ft
warehouse and office facility in Dublin.
The business, which was founded in 2004 by brothers Ciaran and Michael Crean,
currently employs 32 people.
The new funding was secured from the Ulster Bank Diageo Venture Fund managed by
NCB Ventures, the AIB Seed Capital Fund managed by Dublin BIC and private
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said it was “hugely encouraging” to see an indigenous
e-commerce company demonstrate the capacity to expand and develop its business
throughout the world.
Managing director Ciaran Crean said it was a “proud day” for the company.
“ We had a vision when we started the company that MicksGarage.com could become
a successful e-commerce business which would create jobs and expand outside of
Ireland,” he said. “The investment capital which we have secured will allow us
to realise our ambitions for the business, part of which involves 65 new jobs
over the next two years.”
MicksGarage.com is currently recruiting for number of positions including web
developers, web designers, PPC online marking specialists and customer care.
Elsewhere, Donegal firm Zeus Industrial Products (Ireland) Limited is set to
create over 100 new jobs with the expansion of its facilities in Letterkenny as
part of a €10 million investment. The company is submitting a planning
application to Letterkenny Town Council to construct a 55,890 sq ft expansion of
its existing facility in the IDA Business Park in the town.
South Carolina-headquartered Zeus develops and manufactures specialised medical
and industrial fluoropolymer tubing products, which are also used in the
automotive and aerospace sectors. The company employs 120 employees at its
Donegal facility, and the phased expansion will allow it to support up to 225
The Irish Examiner reports that
former Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) board members, Seanie
Fitzpatrick, Lar Bradshaw and Paul Moloney will be called before the Oireachtas
Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to explain their role in the controversial €412m
Irish Glass Bottle (IGB) site debacle.
PAC member, Fine Gael TD Paschal Donohue, said he found “incredulous” some of
the testimony given by Ms Moylan.
The PAC meeting focused on three DDDA board meetings in 2006, on Oct 3, 20 and
24. The first meeting took place in San Sebastian, Spain, as all eight board
members were in the city on a study trip to see the port development and
conference centre. DDDA chief executive Mr Moloney told the meeting a developer
was interested in forming a JV with the State body to develop the IGB site. Ms
Moylan said the developer’s identity was confidential at this meeting, but she
could “infer who it was”.
Mr Moloney wrote to Ms Moylan on Oct 12 to advise that the valuation of the site
was €220m. At the DDDA board meeting on Oct 20, it emerged the valuation of the
site was between €275m and €375m. Mr Donohue wanted to know why there was
significant change in value over eight days. Ms Moylan said the change was based
on plot density and a changing mix of residential/commercial development. Mr
Donohue said he was not satisfied with this answer.
At the meeting of Oct 24, which took place by teleconference, board members
Seanie Fitzpatrick, Lar Bradshaw and Declan McCourt declared conflicts of
interest. Mr McNamara had sought funding from Anglo Irish Bank and Bank of
Ireland. Mr McCourt was a board member of Bank of Ireland and the others were
board members of Anglo.
However, the DDDA board received legal advice that there was no material
conflict of interest, as none of the three sat on the credit committees of the
Mr Donohue asked if the DDDA had spoken to any other developer about developing
the site. Ms Moylan said the DDDA got legal advice it was not in breach of
public procurement policy.
A price of €375m was agreed with Mr McNamara, but this rose to €412. The then
minister for the environment was not informed of the price throughout the
process, as there was no statutory obligation to do so, said Ms Moylan. The only
consent needed from the minister was to raise the borrowings for the JV and to
enter the JV.
Ms Moylan said the board got advice that the property market might have been
overheating. To protect the DDDA, it insisted Mr McNamara pay the difference
between €375m and €412m himself. Moreover, of its 26% stake, it put 30% (€36m)
in equity and the rest in bank borrowings.
The site is now valued at €60m and is in Nama. Mr McNamara sued the DDDA over
the failure to develop the site, but these proceedings were struck out.
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