Fine Gael TD for Kildare South Martin Heydon, today (Friday) welcomed the publication of the Regional Aid Map by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD. This map details areas of the country in which the State can provide investment aid to businesses in order to support new investment and employment, under EU rules.

“Today’s announcement of changes to the Regional Aid Map is great news for the greater Athy region stretching from the Wicklow border East of Castledermot to the Laois border West of Athy. I had lobbied the Minister for investment in this area on several occasions.  I explained that we have Intel in the North of Kildare, and the new Kerry Group development around Naas. The southern part of the County needs Regional State Support to aid the development of jobs which this announcement now provides.

“Regional job growth is a central element of this government’s Action Plan for Jobs (APJ) and making funding available to areas like Athy and Castledermot is important in achieving this growth. These areas have suffered badly during the financial crisis; the results of emigration and job losses were clearly evident and needed to be tackled.

“Minister Bruton and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, engaged intensively with the European Commission to deliver changes which are reflected in the Map published today. Under the new map 51.28% of Ireland’s population will be eligible for State Aid, a substantial increase on the 25% originally proposed by the Commission.  While this represents a marginal increase on the previous eligibility of 50%, that small increase has allowed parts of Kildare to be included for Regional State Aid for the first time ever.

“The greater Athy area has a lot on offer to multinationals looking for a location in Ireland or indeed to home-grown businesses in need of investment. So far this year more than 60,000 jobs have been created nationally, unemployment figures are down nationally and in the Athy area, but investment in the area is required. More jobs, more investment and more growth are necessary to aid the recovery of the area. Today’s publication of the new Regional Aid Map represents a step in the right direction and opens up new opportunities for the 31,000 population of the greater Athy region.”