March 7, 2021
Business News

Waterford Chamber calls for new Minister of Regions to make ‘ambitions’ a reality

Waterford Chamber has called on the next government to appoint a new Minister for the Region to ensure vital projects are delivered for the county and the South East.

Speaking in advance of next month’s General Election, Waterford Chamber CEO Gerard Hurley said there are “a number of asks which must be considered and actioned if we are to develop our city in line with the ambitions identified in Project Ireland 2040”.

Mr Hurley added: “These are not new issues and as the voice of business for our members and the wider business community of Waterford, we are committed to keeping these items on the agenda until they are delivered. Whoever is going to represent us needs to ensure that these are priority issues for them at Government level.

“One of our recommendations is that Government appoint a new Minister for the Regions to safeguard our ambitions and those of the other regional cities. This has come about following discussions at the City Regions Ireland Forum where Chambers from the five cities have come together to lobby collectively to ensure the ambitions as laid out in Ireland Project 2040 are realised.”

Waterford Chamber listed the key priorities for the city and county under the following headlines:

Regional Development:
“Appoint a Minister for the Regions to ensure that balanced regional development as outlined in Project Ireland 2040 is achieved, ensuring that government procurement procedures do not disproportionately favour of Dublin.”

Infrastructure:
“Delivery of infrastructure projects already promised, including North Quays, to ensure a sustainable, balanced economy. The development is critical for the future of Waterford, in terms of attracting talent, executive accommodation and quality of life.”

Connectivity:
“The route analysis for proposed M20 (Cork to Limerick should be extended to include alternative routes, including the upgrading of the existing N24 from Waterford to Limerick, connecting the M8 to Limerick at Cahir. Obvious savings that will be achieved should be spent on other transport infrastructural requirements.”

Trade and tourism:
“Delivery of Waterford Airport to maximise on international trade and the growing tourist market.”

Education:
“Prioritise the upgrading of WIT to University status in order to retain and attract talent, to create and sustain high quality jobs, to provide for lifelong learning requirements of the workforce and attract FDI.”

Health:
“Specialist resources and investment in the provision of acute care including 24/7 cardiac care, A& E and maternity services in Waterford University Hospital, which are vital to ensure that it can cater for both an ageing population as well as current and future population growth within the city and its regional hinterland.”

Childcare: 
“Increased and sustained investment in childcare services and early education infrastructure so that quality childcare is affordable and accessible to working parents.”

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