Cllr Micheál Carrigy, Louise Lovett, Minister Heather Humphreys, Angela Bermingham, Tara Farrell, Stephanie Igoe
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys launched Longford Women’s Link’s Strategic Plan 2017-2022 at Willow Traders last Thursday evening.
The Minister paid tribute to the “great work” that the organisation did in the community and pointed to the importance of diversity and inclusion in all walks of life.
She also spoke about the need for empowering women.
“I am very impressed with the quality and ambition of this plan,” she added.
“Longford Women’s Link is an organisation that sets its sights high and is clearly embedded in the community.
“It is also an organisation that sees itself as a broader global movement.”
Meanwhile, at the heart of the new Plan is a focus on crisis and practical support; economic and social choice and opportunity; leadership, networking and influence as well as governance and sustainability.
“This plan aims to build on the success of the last 22 years by continuing to work in collaboration locally, regionally and nationally to highlight the perspective of rural women and the access and inclusion barriers that they face as stark differences continue to develop between urban and rural living in Ireland,” said Louise Lovett, CEO Longford Women’s Link.
“It is important to celebrate our achievements but equally the achievements of women that we work with, and to hold their stories.
“It is also important to highlight our contribution to the local economy because we now directly employ in excess of 110 people, so the vast majority of our annual income of €22m goes back into the local economies.”
During the launch, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation also pointed to Longford and the wider midland region, which she said, “had traditionally fallen behind other areas in terms of economic recovery”.
“As someone who lives in rural Co Monaghan, I understand the challenges that rural Ireland faces,” Minister Humphreys continued.
“Much as been accomplished to date through initiatives like the Regional Action Plan for Jobs and through the hard work being done in the community by organisations like Longford Women’s Link.
“In my new role I will be putting a particular focus on creating the conditions for increased jobs creation in areas such as the one here tonight.”
She went on then to speak about the role the new plan at Longford Women’s Link will have in Co Longford.
“This organisation will focus on important and wide ranging work including counselling, support for victims of domestic violence and childcare”.
She added; “I was particularly interested in the work the organisation is doing in relation to female entrepreneurship - the rate of female entrepreneurship in Ireland is the seventh highest in Europe with one in every 14 women running their own business.
“However, the rate of entrepreneurship among men in Ireland is the fourth highest in Europe, so is is clear that work needs to done in the area.”
Minister Humphreys then concluded proceedings by reiterating a very apt quote from former first lady of the US, Hillary Clinton.
“There has never been a more important woman than the woman who stands up and says, not just for herself, but for everybody else, we want diversity and inclusion in everything we do in our country”.