Fair regional balance needed in Budget 2017

Helen Downes, CEO, Shannon Chamber. Picture Liam Burke/Press 22
Helen Downes, CEO, Shannon Chamber.
Picture Liam Burke/Press 22

Shannon Chamber is calling on the Government to show a fair balance between Dublin and the rest of the Country.

Chief Executive of Shannon Chamber, Helen Downes told The Clare Herald. “Budget 2017 is being drawn up at a time when the UK government is assessing its post-Brexit future and the impact exiting the EU will have on its attractiveness as an investment location. Given that FDI is a global competition and Ireland is competing with cities with populations in excess of our national total, in compiling Budget 2017, the Government must ensure that it does not detract from Ireland’s attractiveness as a place to invest in and work from”.

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Ms Downes cites the concerns of the Chamber’s members as ways the Government could uncover some of the West of Ireland’s potential. “As highlighted in the recent National Competitiveness Council Bulletin, Ireland’s infrastructure score has dropped in ranking by two places. While this is worrying at a national level, it is even more so at a regional level and particularly concerns Shannon Chamber members who continually call on us to lobby for the completing of both the M20 motorway to Cork and the N69 linking Foynes Port to national routes, to open up the region’s accessibility.

“Unlocking the economic potential of the West requires significant investment by the State and the EU in the further development of infrastructure and utilities. If the Government is seriously committed to balanced regional development, measures to enhance rational competiveness must be included in Budget 2017.

“We need to see a fair balance between growth in Dublin and the rest of the county; we need to see action, not promises,” Ms Downes added.

Issues of particular concern to businesses in the Shannon area and which Shannon Chamber would ask the Government to particularly give consideration to when formulating Budget 2017 include; maintaining the same price of diesel, a speedy roll out of high-speed broadband to rural locations, a review of rates nationally and personal tax levels to increase Ireland’s attractiveness for FDI and encourage expats to return to work in Ireland. The Chamber also wants to see bigger tax breaks for entrepreneurs.

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