Chamber News

Waterford Chamber sets out ambitions to Finance Minister

Paschal Donohoe Meeting

By invitation of Waterford Chamber, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe met with a representation of the Waterford business community during his visit to the city on Thursday last.

During the lengthy discussion, the group outlined to the Minister the opportunities that were present in Waterford right now but were emphatic that the growth potential for the city, county and region was being stymied by the lack of Government investment.

Reflecting on the meeting, Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley said: “For me, the most valuable part of the meeting was hearing the contributions of our business leaders, who have been the lifeblood of economic development in Waterford in recent times. It is because of their entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to Waterford and the wider region that we continue to be home to some of Ireland’s fastest growing businesses.

“Our ask is simple and was very effectively articulated by Patsy Carney of Eirgen Pharma when he said: “Sort out the basics and we’ll take care of the rest. We’ll bring the jobs and the investment.” It is this kind of commitment and determination that has seen Waterford achieve the growth that is visible here today. We embraced Ireland 2040 and now it’s about delivery, as we have some of the best opportunities in the country.”

Mark Hennessey of Bausch + Lomb outlined the importance of the North Quays development for the future of Waterford, in terms of attracting talent, executive accommodation and quality of life. He outlined the challenge in securing investment in the Waterford plant because of the difficulty in attracting the right talent and keeping them here.

The €400m FDI in the North Quays has the potential to deliver direct and indirect employment in the region of 6,500 jobs, not to mention a huge boost to the Exchequer in terms of taxes, VAT and PRSI etc., Mr Hurley told the Minister.

“The future of Waterford is dependent on attracting and retaining the likes of the business leaders that were at the meeting. They are the kind of individuals who operate on a hands up approach rather than a hands out approach. It is people of this calibre who will deliver for Waterford in achieving the ambition set out in Ireland 2040 and the time has come to embrace this opportunity.”

Kathryn Kiely, Glazik Ltd. told the Minister about the need for a constant generation of talent and the international reputation of a University is critical to that.

“When you have the like of James Mernin of Red Hat say that 94% of their interns have been hired, you realise the true importance of the TU, in terms of being able to scale to deliver on the levels of growth and vision for Waterford under Ireland 2040,” Mr Hurley said following the meeting.

In terms of Waterford Airport, Brian Nolan outlined how Sanofi have a considerable number of people travelling in and out of Europe and London each week and as Barry Downes of Sure Valley Ventures said, “Everything is just a little harder because you cannot catch a flight from Waterford.” The Minister acknowledged the importance of the Airport and thanked the business leaders for their re-affirmation on how important its development is for the region.

Frank O’Regan of Ireland South East outlined we now have inter-county collaboration and the journey of self-believe is evolving.

Concluding, Mr Hurley said: “What we are calling on the Government to do is to give Waterford its equitable share and afford us the same opportunities as other regional cities to achieve their ambitions for Ireland’s oldest city. To sum it up, as Paul Nolan, Dawn Meats said: “We’re here to do it” and we left the Minister in no doubt that we have the passion, drive and ability to deliver.”

 

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What Our Members Say

"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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