Belfast Telegraph

Deasy slams IDA over Waterford jobs

A Government backbencher has criticised the IDA for the spiralling job losses across Waterford.

John Deasy claimed the enterprise body significantly wound down its operations in the county over the last four to five years, with management taking charge from 70 miles away.

"There is an IDA office in the city, but it has been reduced dramatically and senior people have moved to Cork," said the Waterford representative. "This needs to be reinstated to maintain and create employment."

The unemployment rate in the south-east was as high as 18.1% by the end of 2010 - the highest regional unemployment rate in the State - with 41,700 people unemployed.

Waterford Chamber wants Government, the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and the local councils to pull together to create employment in the area.

Annemarie Caulfield, president, believes up to 3,000 jobs may have been lost in recent years with the closure of small firms affected by the massive lay-offs.

"We are concerned for the workers and the families of workers, and for the knock-on economic impact this will have for Waterford city," she said. "Given the unemployment in the area it needs special attention."

IDA confirmed it has had a re-organisation of staff due to the employment embargo, the current economic climate and how business is won - but said a team of executives in Waterford is focused on business generation.

Mr Deasy said he will discuss the issue with his Fine Gael colleague, jobs minister Richard Bruton, who is responsible for the IDA, on Monday.

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