Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Clare Rita McInerney says business and community groups across West Clare are prepared to engage fully with a proposed new taskforce aimed at securing new investment into the county.
Ms McInerney organised and hosted a meeting of the Kilrush Town Team, Kilrush Chamber of Commerce, Kilkee Chamber of Commerce and the Doughmore Protection Group to discuss the measures needed to bring new employment and investment to the region.
“For too long West Clare and large parts of rural Ireland have been left behind by successive Fine Gael governments. We’ve seen essential services closed and the recent announcement of further job losses at Moneypoint and concerns over future employment opportunities at the facility has created an urgency among businesses and locals to ensure than urgent measures are implemented to mitigate the lay offs”, said Ms McInerney.
“The establishment of the taskforce is a welcome development, but it is essential that everybody engages with it. I welcome the contributions made by local TDs and Senators and local lobby groups, and their commitment to work with the taskforce is a positive step.
“While there are a number of issues affecting West Clare, the situation at Moneypoint is undoubtedly the biggest challenge facing the area. The loss of so many jobs is a huge blow, and locals are very worried that there is no overarching strategy for the facility. We must see alternative options for the site explored. The current impasse is hugely damaging to the area.
“The ESB and government need to explore the best options for Moneypoint that will result in securing high-value, high-volume, skilled jobs on the site. It is estimated that it would take between 8-10 years to have a fully operational offshore wind energy facility up and running so time is of the essence.
“It was widely acknowledged at the meeting that there are a number of exciting tourism projects in the pipeline for West Clare and while it is a very important sector to the area, permanent, all-year round, well paid jobs are also needed to sustain communities.
“Calls were also made for the upgrade of the N68 to improve road safety along the route, as well as improving journey times between Ennis and Kilrush.
“I want to thank everyone who attended this week’s meeting. It generated many frank and open discussions and allowed local people to voice their concerns. We appreciate there is a long road ahead but welcome the establishment of the taskforce. I look forward to continuing to work with the Oireachtas members and local Councillors to the future benefit of West Clare”, concluded McInerney.