Balanced regional development top of Helen’s agenda on her re-election to Chambers Ireland Board


Helen Downes, chief executive, Shannon Chamber and  re-elected to the Chambers Ireland Board pictured with Alan Shine, CEO, North Kildare Chamber (left) and John Hurley, CEO, Kilkenny Chamber, both newly elected members of Chambers Ireland Board.


Highlighting the Shannon Region’s role as a key driver of balanced regional development nationally is one of the key priorities of Helen Downes, Chief Executive of Shannon Chamber, who has been re-elected to the Board of Chambers Ireland for a further one-year term.


Chambers Ireland is the coordinating body for 46 Chambers throughout the country and its 13-member Board is the organisation’s governing body which provides strategic leadership and overseas its activities.


Congratulating Ms Downes on her re-appointment, Shannon Chamber President Julie Dickerson said that it represents a strong vote of confidence in her high standing and strategic role in the organisation nationally.


“Being a member of the Board enables her to project and influence, at national level, issues which are of direct concern and interest to the Shannon Region business community and the Chamber membership of over 300 companies extending out to over 10,000 employees,” she added.


Speaking about her priorities for the year ahead, Helen Downes said that the foremost issue on her agenda is ensuring that balanced regional development is central to national economic development policy.


“We need to see a fair balance between growth in Dublin and the rest of the country, and I intend to push for action on various fronts so that progress is made in this regard.


“For instance, I strongly advocated this core policy priority to Minister Mary Mitchell-O’Connor when meeting the Minister as part of a Chambers Ireland Board delegation recently,” she added.

Shannon Chamber serves on the Implementation Group for the Mid-West Action Plan for Jobs which, Ms Downes says, is a forum that can draw the various stakeholders in the Region, including the Shannon Group, industry and tourism interests, together to develop the area’s full potential.


“Nationally, the Region has been seen as a model for successful regional development down through the years. I want to ensure it continues to play a strong role today as a strong counter-balancing force to Dublin,” she stressed.


Other issues currently being articulated by Helen Downes at Chambers Ireland Board level include inputting to the Board’s Budget 2017 submission, which highlights the need for measures to support business growth, infrastructural investment and sustainable development.