Government needs to do better for Drogheda’s Enterprise Development

The LOVEDROGHEDA Business Improvement District working group requested data from the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation on the investment made by the Enterprise agencies - IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Office (Louth) in County Louth for each of the years 2008 to 2018.

We also requested data for the investment made in the old Drogheda Borough region, which was not provided.

Here’s what the data tells us:

  • Based on 2017 national investment (€311M) and 2016 census figures Co Louth should have; on a pro rata basis, received €8.4M in investment.
  • In 2017, Louth received €4.3M – a 48.8% under investment
  • Persistent negative investment bias over 10 years
  • Negative investment bias in Drogheda is promoted by Government
  • Drogheda tax payers and businesses fund these Agencies
  • Based on the available data, from 2009 to 2014 annual investment in Co Louth reduced by 65% from €5.5M to €1.9M
  • All Enterprise offices are located in Dundalk – IDA Dundalk, Enterprise Ireland and Louth LEO
  • IDA Ireland market the region as “Invest in Dundalk”
  • IDA Ireland did not make any investment (zero) in 2013, €35k in 2014 and €34k in 2017
  • Of the investment made in Co Louth, the bigger share is invested elsewhere in the County
  • Other Louth County economic indicators suggest the County is seriously lagging behind the rest of Leinster
  • IDA Ireland planned the sale of large office space, Drogheda Co Meath in 2018
  • If Government do not invest – how can indigenous companies and FDI be expected to invest?

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.

For the year 2017, Enterprise Ireland invested just over €4.3m in Louth, the LEO office invested €209k and IDA Ireland invested €34k. 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.

Louth’s population as per the 2016 census was 128,884 or 2.7% of the Republic’s 4,761,865 2016 population.

Minister Heather Humphreys stated “The new National Development Plan recognises the importance of Dundalk and Drogheda as key centres in the context of the Dublin-Belfast economic corridor. Both towns have a strong track record in attracting multinational companies due to the quality of the local infrastructure as well as their proximity to Dublin’s transport hubs. I am therefore confident that we will be able to sustain and grow investment levels in County Louth, including in Drogheda.”

Data as provided by Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation attached.

 

Enterprise Agency Investment in Co Louth 2008 - 2018

Year

Enterprise Ireland

IDA

Louth LEO

Total

2018

€ 3,079,928

N/A

N/A

 

2017

€ 4,063,517

€ 33,831

€ 209,493

€ 4,306,841

2016

€ 5,569,603

€ 262,056

€ 227,426

€ 6,059,085

2015

€ 4,396,281

€ 993,000

€ 195,023

€ 5,584,304

2014

€ 1,603,265

€ 35,000

€ 225,203

€ 1,863,468

2013

€ 2,153,930

€ 0

N/A

€ 2,153,930

2012

€ 2,561,842

€ 279,334

N/A

€ 2,841,176

2011

€ 2,235,346

€ 489,051

N/A

€ 2,724,397

2010

€ 3,901,224

€ 347,207

N/A

€ 4,248,431

2009

€ 5,266,959

€ 282,000

N/A

€ 5,548,959

2008

€ 1,915,865

€ 1,245,000

N/A

€ 160,865

Total

€ 36,747,760

€ 3,966,479

€ 857,145

€ 38,491,456

National Investment 2017

     
 

€ 203,000,000

€ 92,000,000

€ 16,000,000

€ 311,000,000

Louth's Share

€ 5,494,371

€ 2,490,060

€ 433,054

€ 8,417,484

Census 2016

       

Irish Republic Population

4,761,865

   

Co Louth Population

128,884

   

Percentage Total

2.71%