Clare must act quickly and capitalise on the decision of Britain to leave the European Union.
That’s the view of Independent Cllr Ian Lynch who received praise for his motion at the July meeting of Clare County Council. His proposal reads as follows.
“Following the recent vote for Britain to leave the EU, and the inevitable economic and market uncertainty that will follow this decision, that this council would use its extensive networking of contacts within the UK and all available mediums (print, air, television and social) to launch a marketing campaign, inviting Irish born businesses or otherwise, wishing to secure their future in the EU, to relocate to the Irish Western Seaboard in County Clare, where they will enjoy excellent air and sea connectivity to European markets, pre-clearance to American markets, highly skilled work force, high speed broadband, availability of modern manufacturing and office facilities, as well as an excellent low cost living and way of life for employees.
“County Clare now offers concerned businesses a secure way to work within the EU and we, as Clare County Council, must look at ensuring that we place ourselves in the best possible position to benefit the entire county from the fall out of this decision”.
Addressing his motion, the Kilrush man urged members of the authority to take action as he pointed out Britain were beginning to look at alternatives. “An opportunity that we need to grasp before somebody else does”.
“Clare County Council, working through Clare Tourism who oversee the marketing and promotion of the county, will continue to participate in and promote initiatives that will attract visitors from the UL to County Clare and the wider region” was the response from the local authority. Acting CEO, Ger Dollard subsequently added that the response placed more of an emphasis on tourism than enterprise.
Dollard revealed that they are currently working with their UK contacts to build on the legacy of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann and with Connect Ireland. He agreed with the motion but stated “the reality is resources we have would get lost in the UK market”. Ger maintained that national resources would be required to go ahead with this motion.
Fianna Fáil Councillors PJ Kelly, Clare Colleran-Molloy and Cathal Crowe all spoke in favour of the motion. Kelly wants to see Clare County Council be a development body and felt no efforts should be spared in this venture. Colleran-Molloy highlighted this “incredible opportunity” and believes “United Ireland will be an organic process”. Crowe praised the foresight of Ian Lynch in putting forward the motion and flagged the “unbelievable possibilities” this proposal could bring to Clare.
Independent Cllr Christy Curtin felt the motion was well-thought and recommended working with the “capable” Minister of State for Employment and Small Businesses, Pat Breen.
John Crowe believed it was “a no-brainer” and thought Clare was the ideal location “we’re open for business and very open to American markets”. The Fine Gael Cllr remarked that it was “a very-timely motion” and it needs to be aggressively exploited for the benefit of the County.