The Atlantic Economic Corridor (AEC) Chambers Group, which comprises the Chambers of Commerce of Tralee, Shannon, Ennis, Galway, Action Tuam, Roscommon, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal, Letterkenny, and the American Chamber of Commerce, regard the inclusion of the AEC in the National Planning Framework (NPF) and the National Development Plan (NDP), as an important commitment to the creation of an Atlantic Economic Corridor and to the future development of the Atlantic regions
Chairman of the AEC Chambers Group, Mike Devane, in welcoming the NPF vision of an expanded city strategy that includes four cities to the south and west with three larger urban growth centres in the midlands, and northwest, said this will create the backbone of the economic corridor.
“The inclusion of a specific focus on the economic regeneration of smaller urban and inter-urban settlements along the Atlantic Economic Corridor will allow for a more effective realisation of all of the economic potential of the corridor. Specifically, it paves the way for a significant and sustainable development of Ireland’s natural resource base,” he stated.
Welcoming the Government’s support for the AEC, through its inclusion in the NPF and NDP, Mr Devane added: “Importantly, the NPF vision supports our view that we must rebalance our national economy with a greater focus on the natural resources and better exploit the comparative advantage that exists within the Atlantic regions.
Commenting on the way forward for the AEC grouping, Mr Devane added: “Notwithstanding this first step to create a more balanced regional development model, we, the business community, realise fully that it is a vision with an initial investment plan that must be effectively executed.
“While the investment planned will not be sufficient to support all our ambition it will allow the public and private sectors, working together to cause job growth, build confidence and demonstrate that the Atlantic Economic Corridor and its concept of creating a linear city of scale, provides an effective platform to collaboratively build new investment initiatives that will accelerate job growth and positively impact on the national economy.
“The Chambers and business groups will continue to work with local authorities and state agencies, and engage with communities to support the vision, make this regional economic correction, accelerate growth and reverse the depopulation of the Atlantic regions.”
Commenting on the next part of the NPF/NDP process, the formulation of the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies (RSES) by the Regional Assemblies, Mr Devane, on behalf of the AEC and its members, called for a new way of thinking when formulating these strategies.
“The AEC and its members have already inputted to this process and have called for a new approach that looks beyond administrative boundaries and recognises economic zones of influence.
“We would recommend that areas in the Atlantic Economic Corridor should not simply be regarded as economic engines in their own right, but also a core part of a linear city of interconnected places. The Northern and Western Regional Assembly and the Southern Regional Assembly must adopt this approach when formulating the RSESs for their areas, taking account of the interdependence between the two Assemblies in the Atlantic Economic Corridor,” Mr Devane concluded.