Julie Dickerson, president, Shannon Chamber (left) with Niall O’Callaghan, business and relationship manager Mid-West region, IDA Ireland; Helen Downes, chief executive, Shannon Chamber; and Ray O’Driscoll, managing director, Shannon Commercial Properties at the chamber lunch in Dromoland Castle Hotel. Photograph by Eamon Ward.
The Shannon region is a wonderful place to live and work. This was the sentiment expressed by South African native Julie Dickerson, managing director of Shannon Engine Support and president of Shannon Chamber, in her opening remarks at a Chamber lunch today at which IDA’s new regional business and relationship Niall O’Callaghan was the keynote speaker.
The lunch, which was held in Dromoland Castle Hotel, was attended by chamber members and the region’s business community, who were also briefed on projects planned and underway at Shannon Free Zone by Shannon Commercial Properties’ managing director Ray O’Driscoll.
Addressing attendees, Shannon Chamber president Julie Dickerson outlining her reasons for backing Shannon, said: “I have seen the benefits, first hand, of the loyalty of the workforce, the ease of doing business, the pace and the exceptional quality of life that is available in this part of Ireland.
“We have a legacy of achievement, not just in having the world’s first duty free zone set up here but in the attraction and retention of some outstanding businesses that operate quietly, producing products for global markets,” she added.
Calling on the government to show real commitment to regional development Ms Dickerson said: “Shannon Chamber is a firm advocate of balanced regional development and to this end, we have, in conjunction with Chambers in Ennis, Galway, Sligo, Roscommon and Mayo, produced a regional economic strategy for the West of Ireland, which we have already presented to the Local Authorities in those areas. We will also be briefing all of the electives representatives in each county on the strategy’s content.
“There is a need for real government commitment to regional development and we believe the Atlantic Economic Strategy clearly sets out a new paradigm for developing the western half of Ireland,” Ms Dickerson added.
Referring to issues that are hindering the development of the region, Ms Dickerson pointed to an urgent need for the completion of the M20 motorway from Limerick to Cork, high-speed broadband to all parts of the region and the alleviation of rates on business.
“Rates will remain firmly on our agenda as we feel the current system is not fit for purpose and needs to be reviewed on a national scale to make it less onerous on business.”