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02/08/2021

Midlands Regional Food & Drink Strategy 2021-2024 launched in Abbeyshrule

Mr. Robert Troy, T.D. , Minister of State Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment with responsibility for Trade Promotion & the Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan today launched the MidlandsIreland.ie Regional Food & Drink Strategy 2021-2024,  at an outdoor event at Cloughan Farm & Cookery School, Abbeyshrule, County Longford.

The strategy focuses on strengthening the food & drink sector in the region through four strategic pillars: 

  • Sustainability:  Build a more sustainable food & drink eco-system in the Midlands
  • Awareness:  Develop local awareness and pride in Midlands food and drink
  • Export Capability:  Build capability to support export readiness
  • Food Tourism:  Develop a food and drink culture to create evocative visitor experience 

In welcoming the publication of the Strategy, Minister for Trade Promotion & the Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan, Robert Troy TD, said, “This strategy recognises and seeks to reinforce the unique potential of the Midlands food and drink offering– one of excellence, visibility, and pride. It is about making the Midlands the most sustainable regional food and drink ecosystem in the country. With its emphasis on collaboration across all stakeholders and the commitment demonstrated to date, I believe we are making positive progress to achieving these aims.

“I want to commend all involved for their ambition and work to achieve this – it truly is a regional effort. This Regional Food and Drink Strategy along with the development of the new Regional Enterprise Plan to 2024 under the leadership of Dr. Anne Cusack, will play a really important role in the effort to promote the Midlands as a place to live, work and invest in.”

Vincent Cleary, Managing Director of Glenisk and Industry Chair of the working group stated that “the implementation of this strategy will both support and develop food and drink producers of all scales across the Midland counties of Laois, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath, with the sustainability agenda at its very core, whilst seeking to overcome the many challenges faced by the sector over the last 18 months”.

Paying tribute to her colleagues on the Working Group,  Evelyn Reddin, Head of Enterprise, LEO Laois, and  Agency Chair representing regional LEOs said  “I extend my appreciation to all members of the working group for sharing their informed insights during the development of this strategy, and we look forward to building on this work with the implementation of the actions identified”.

Dr Anne Cusack, Chair of the MREP Steering Committee extended her thanks to Food First Consulting who facilitated the development of this strategy and acknowledged the invaluable contributions which the regional food producers made throughout the process. 

Paddy Mahon, Chief Executive, Longford Local Authority welcomed the publication of the report and commended Ms Joanne Murphy for capturing the stunning images of our regional food and drink producers and to Penhouse for the design of the strategy.

Sarah Morgan, Programme Manager, Midlands Regional Enterprise Development Office, extended her appreciation to all member of the working group and to all food and drink producers across the Midland Region which engaged with the consultation process to inform the actions contained in this plan.

The development of this strategy was informed and guided by the relevant EU, national regional and local policies.  The Midland Food and Drink Strategy will translate these policies for delivery through its strategic pillars.

Close collaboration and deep resilience will be crucial for the Midlands to implement this plan and to navigate the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit. 

The strategy was developed with the support of the Local Enterprise Offices in Laois, Longford, Offaly & Westmeath and the Local Authorities of Laois, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath.

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