Mid-west counties should work closer together

Mid-west counties should work closer together


Limerick Chamber President and Northern Trust GM says Brexit can be an opportunity for Mid-West.

Posted by The Clare Herald on Sunday, November 20, 2016

Greater cohesion across Clare, Limerick and Tipperary in addition to abandoning parochialism are required if each county individually, as well as the West, is to deliver on its economic potential, the region’s top business event heard at the weekend.

CEO of Limerick Chamber Dr. James Ring told the gathering of 450 guests at the Chamber’s annual President’s Dinner and Regional Business Awards that while Limerick and the wider region is most definitely on the up, there’s a need for the individual counties to work closer together.

“There’s a really buoyant feeling in Limerick. We’ve seen massive jobs announcements development in the city that we haven’t seen for a long time.  But there’s a lot to do in terms of the region working together.

“My message is to take off the GAA jerseys and let’s behave like a region.  Limerick will struggle to compete on its own, as will Clare and Tipperary. We can no longer afford to waste time competing with each other.

“However, if we take off the county colours and start meaningfully working together to attract investment and jobs into the region, we will have a real chance. We must stand together and the bigger picture must always be in view.

“We might survive on our own but we will not thrive. So I say enough of the parish pump politics, enough fighting for the scraps off Dublin’s table. Let’s stand together with one voice and I would include Galway in this conversation. 

“There’s a natural fit, a real resonance about a Limerick, Galway, Shannon, Ennis corridor.  A real alternative to Dublin,” he said.

Nine companies in all claimed the 2016 Regional Business Award, with the top award, Overall Business of the Year award going to Dell EMC.  The President’s Award, for an individual or organisation who made a significant business economic contribution at local or national level, went to John Moran, former Secretary General at the Department of Finance.

The event was attended by businesses from Limerick, Clare and Tipperary. The other award winners were

Best SME: Medmark

Best Emerging: BHSL

Best Large: Dell EMC

Best CSR programme: Shannon Group

Best Community entity: Cliona’s Foundation

Best Retail and Hospitality : Tiger

Best Sport art and Culture: University Concert Hall

Best Service: Home Instead

Best Family: Woodlands Hotel

The outgoing President of Limerick Chamber, Northern Trust General Manager Catherine Duffy, meanwhile, said that Brexit can present a real opportunity for Limerick and that it is not at all negative.  Ms Duffy was making her last address as president at the event, with her two year term ending in the spring, and said that while the Brexit prognosis for much of Europe, including the UK, is largely a negative one, there are opportunities for Limerick and the wider region. 

“There is a possibility that Britain leaving the EU could lead to some foreign direct investment there being diverted elsewhere in the EU, which would be an opportunity for Ireland,” she said.

“Nationally, regionally and locally we have put a lot of building blocks in place to create the right conditions to attract large scale investment and companies like Regeneron, Fazzi, Redfaire and Troy Studios.  But what next? How do we keep up this momentum?

“To stay on this path of success, to achieve our vision for Limerick, we must continue to work together as a team, to challenge ourselves and accept nothing but the best.  Just as we do in our own businesses every day, we must seize the opportunities and confront the challenges.”

The Chamber President said that it is imperative that businesses are supported further in their quest to grow and to create more jobs if the current flow of investment and jobs in Limerick is to continue.

“That applies to the multinationals that established a base here this year and twenty years ago – policies must be put in place to ensure we remain competitive and that the jobs created are secure.  It also, in fact more importantly, applies to the SME sector.  The amount of international companies attracted to our region in recent years is fantastic news, however, we must focus on supporting indigenous growth. 

“Starting your own business is a risk. Two-thirds of new jobs are created by SMEs. Our tax policies must support growth,” she added.