Chamber News

We must work together to deliver a positive message says Chamber CEO

We must identify the positives is the message from Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley in response to the recent publication of the South East Economic Monitor.

While some of the figures are stark, Mr Hurley believes it also highlights the fact that the South East is growing.

“The report recognises that the South East Region has the greatest headroom for growth of any Irish Region. Only 1% of the €7.8bn 2018-2022 Exchequer Capital Investment has been committed to the South East, despite 8.9% of the national population living in the region. This needs to change and we will be making every effort to lobbying the Government in this regard.

“Both Waterford Airport and the North Quays are examples where private investors are already seeing the opportunities and investing in Waterford, and public money is following their lead. If private investors are seeing this potential, then the state should recognise the opportunities which exist when allocating its Capital Investment over the next five years.

“The South East is the most affordable of the five regions under Ireland 2040 and should be getting a fair share of the Capital investment over the next five years. This will ensure the growth and employment ambitions are achieved. Along with other regional stakeholders, we are working collaboratively to promote the region in terms of affordability, opportunities in terms of investment and employment and an all-important work/life balance. That will continue in earnest. Only this week, we met with Indian Ambassador to Ireland Mr Sandeep Kumar to highlight these points and he has assured us he will relay the information to his colleagues.

“In addition, the required investment for the Technological University has to be included in the 2018-2022 Capital Investment Budget. The facts speak for themselves. Having a University will guarantee economic growth, not just for Waterford but for the wider region.

“The report also highlights the opportunity now for IDA Ireland to redirect their focus and to promote the region in terms of its affordability, highly skilled workforce and the opportunity for growth and investment.

“Negative and inaccurate reporting, as seen this week in a national newspaper, is certainly not helping to promote the region and the onus is on us to ensure the right message is delivered at all times.

“To say there is a lack of high-quality jobs in simply untrue. CSO labour figures show consistent growth in higher value jobs in the South East in areas such as ICT and Financial Services, both of which are up over 20%. We must also be cognisant of the fact that companies such as Bausch + Lomb and Glanbia, have recently announced significant growth and expansion plans, so we are confident of the level of jobs coming on stream.

“Once professionals chose to come to the region, the cost of living is more affordable and while the earning figures may be slightly less, it is certainly no where near half of the national average. In fact, CSO figures show the South East was 90% of the national average.

“Waterford and the South East Region has ambitious plans for growth. We need to be even more ambitious. We need to take pride in our offering and work collaboratively to push the message that Waterford and the South East is a great place to live, work, invest in and do business.”

 

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"Waterford is a very attractive location for Foreign Direct Investment as it is a dynamic city which is very much open for business – the city has a proven track record of attracting investment from start-ups and expanding business, who are hugely supported by Waterford Chamber. The city, county and region offers a young, well educated workforce and is easily accessible for international visitors. Waterford’s quality of life for employees is exceptional as it blends elements of rich cultural heritage with a new and vibrant lifestyle – with new additions such as the Greenway further showcasing the county to not only locals, but visitors from all over Ireland and overseas. The Chamber has been a vital link in welcoming our companies into the local Business Community – helping them not only network, but also gain a sense of community and belonging."

Brendan McDonald, Regional Manager, South East Region, IDA

 

 

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