Junior Minister Critical for West of Ireland Economy
The inclusion of regional development in a Ministerial portfolio as part of the new Government structure is a welcome development but the presidents of Shannon and Ennis Chambers of Commerce are calling on the Taoiseach to demonstrate real commitment to the issue by appointing a Junior Minister for regional development from the western seaboard.
“A lot has been said about balanced regional development in the Action Plan for Jobs but businesses along the entire western corridor now need demonstrable evidence of this commitment. The ultimate step in ensuring that the current divide between urban and rural areas is eliminated would be the appointment of a Junior Minister from this region. Having a representative in Cabinet who is truly in tune with the needs of the West of Ireland would demonstrate a positive disposition by Government to building on the latent, untapped, and hugely valuable potential of the region.
“Despite the influx of new investment to the eastern seaboard, Shannon still retains the largest concentration of foreign direct investment in Ireland outside Dublin; the Wild Atlantic Way is developing into an unrivalled tourism product with tremendous potential; and third-level colleges are producing the skills required by industry and partnering with business on a diverse range of research. Yet, the particular challenge facing the west is that 70% of the population is rural, which is the reverse of the national pattern. A solution for this imbalance needs to be found. Appointing a Junior Minister located in Co Clare, in the heart of the west, who sees the imbalance first hand, would be a step in the right direction,” the presidents stated.
Shannon Chamber President – Julie Dickerson
Ennis Chamber President – Jean McCabe