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 Header Item Report of the Expert Group on the Judgment in the A, B and C v. Ireland Case: Statements (Resumed) (Continued)
 Header Item Topical Issues Debate
 Header Item Foreign Direct Investment

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 785 No. 3

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe] The Government is doing so. When the expert group published its report a number of weeks ago the Government decided to debate it in the Chamber so all Members could give their views after which, prior to Christmas, the Government would come forward with an option. It will then bring experts before an Oireachtas committee to see what is the best way forward.

  I have no doubt it will be one of the most difficult decisions I will make, and this will also be true for other Deputies from my party. I know Labour Party Deputies see it differently and I respect their views. I hope those on the other side respect our views. I ask for respect and that people do not push down our necks what we have to do. We must take our time on this and look at it from different angles to ensure we make the right decision. The decision we will make will affect many other people around the person about whom we are making the decision. I have reservations about parts of it, but in having these reservations I believe we are not rushing this and that we will make the right decision.

  Deputy Kyne stated he has never received as much correspondence about an issue as he has about this one. I can state the same. I have received more correspondence on this issue than I have on any other issue since becoming a Member of the House.

  We know what happened in Galway a number of weeks ago, and I expressed my sadness and sympathy to the husband of Savita Halappanavar because I can imagine what he went through over those days and what he has been going through since. However, we must wait for the true facts to come out before jumping to any conclusions. I know Ireland has changed in recent weeks, and conservative people have spoken to me about how sad it was, and it was terrible. That husband was expecting a wife and child to come out of hospital healthy, but unfortunately this did not happen. It shows the very thin line that is there and the risks which exist and what consultants, gynaecologists, nurses and midwives go through on a daily basis. They do a very difficult job because they help another life to come into the world and we must respect the work they do and respect the decisions they make on a daily basis.

  In saying all of this, it goes back to the very difficult decision we must make. However, I have confidence the Government can strike the right chord and listen to all Members of the House. We will not rush it. There are many legal and medical complexities in the A, B and C v. Ireland case, the X case and the area of abortion. I hope all of these complexities are well examined before any decision is made. This is a very difficult issue for everybody to speak on and if there is one issue on which people speak from their heart it is this one. I have listened to the debate and those who contributed spoke from their hearts.

Debate adjourned.

Topical Issues Debate

Foreign Direct Investment

Deputy Tom Hayes: Information on Tom Hayes Zoom on Tom Hayes I thank the Ceann Comhairle for selecting what is an incredibly important issue for people throughout the country and for my constituents in Tipperary. While I do not want to be accused of bias against Dublin, the fact is that 80% of foreign direct investment goes to the large urban centres of Dublin, Cork and Galway. We are obviously in the midst of a deep recession brought about by reckless lending, poor governance and a depressed world economy. Nevertheless the country still retains the key characteristics which have in the past been cited as the reasons for multinational companies choosing to invest here. We have a young well educated workforce and Ireland is an English speaking country seen as a hub for European operations. We have improved our competitiveness and reduced our labour costs in recent years and we have given a firm commitment on our corporation tax rate remaining at 12.5%, which was reiterated yesterday in the budget.

When the economy was growing quickly these were cited as the reasons we were able to attract and win investment from large companies, and although there is now strong downward pressure on costs and wages, reduced red tape and increased incentives we are not securing foreign direct investment for rural areas. I understand the role the world economy growth rate plays in this but I want to know what efforts are being made to ensure we are in pole position to capitalise on growth in the world economy. It is often stated that when the world economy starts to grow Ireland will reap the benefits.

We have made huge strides recently in restoring our international reputation and confidence in the economy. While I acknowledge the work of the IDA and the past success of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation I urge everyone involved in attracting foreign direct investment not to be complacent. I encourage the Minister to consider the rural areas in the country when courting multinational investment. My constituency has suffered jobs losses in recent years in Clonmel, Cashel, Carrick-on-Suir, Thurles and Tipperary town. Empty factories are available in each of these towns and areas. I call on the Minister to give his attention to these locations. Huge opportunities seem to be available for large-scale businesses in rural locations such as these.

Biotechnology, pharmaceutical, information technology and professional services companies to mention but a few can grow and develop in a different environment. The costs outside of the capital are lower. The quality of life available to employees is very different to that in the major cities. The road, rail and broadband infrastructure which was not in place years ago is now available. The road from Dublin to Cork passes through Tipperary and makes it accessible to the airports in Dublin, Cork and Shannon, which are at most an hour and a half away. I urge the Minister of State to punch this home when visitors come to our country and ensure these arguments are made to CEOs when they are deciding where to invest. They will see the broader picture and choose to locate in rural areas and thus help the infrastructure and quality of life in areas outside the main cities. With the deficit under control and confidence restored, a growing world economy can be hugely beneficial to Ireland once we position ourselves to capitalise and attract inward investment to rural areas as well as the large cities. I urge the Minister of State to do this.

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