Date Published: 18-Jul-2012
BY CIARAN TIERNEY
The attractiveness of Galway as a place to live and the ‘talent pool’ around the city have been described as the key factors in ensuring the West experienced the most dramatic increase in the number of IDA backed jobs created across the country last year.
Latest figures from the IDA (Industrial Development Authority) show the numbers employed in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) companies in the West of Ireland increased from 13,815 to 15,590 between 2010 and 2011.
This 12.8% increase is far ahead of the second placed region, the East, which experienced 5.9% growth in job numbers, and is in stark contrast to the South East, where there was an 8.2% decrease in the numbers employed by FDI companies over the same period.
The IDA released its 2011 annual report late last week and, according to West Regional Manager Catherina Blewitt, has continued to make progress with about 1,000 new FDI jobs in Co Galway in the first six months of this year.
“What we call ‘peer respect’ is a big part of our success in the West of Ireland,” she said on Wednesday. “There is a cluster of very well respected companies in Galway, in areas such as medical devices, medical technology, and ICT (Information Communications Technology) sectors and we find this is a factor in their peers’ decision to locate here.
“At this stage, Galway is seen to be at the core of the medical technology cluster. What does not always make the headlines is the number of specialised indigenous companies in Galway, backed by Enterprise Ireland, who sub-supply these sectors. The IDA also provides an ‘aftercare service’ to multinationals after they set up here.”
Ms Blewitt said the support and expertise which the city’s two third level colleges, NUIG and GMIT, provided to the multi-national sector was also a key factor in the decisions of some companies to locate in Galway City.
“Galway’s ability to attract people, as an attractive place to live, is a factor,” said Ms Blewitt. “There is a ‘talent pool’ here, due to the presence of other multi-nationals, NUIG and GMIT. We do try to influence where a company goes, but ultimately the company makes its own choice about its location.
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