Pat O’Neill, Zenith Adhesive Components, Niall Fay, Grant Engineering, Helen Leahy, Midlands IBEC, Micheál Martin, FF Leader, Ciaran Corcoran, President Midlands IBEC & Abbott, Cllr Joe Flaherty
The Ibec Regional Executive Committee (REC) in the Midlands, has welcomed the announcement of Project Ireland 2040, comprising of the National Development Plan and the National Planning Framework.
For some time now, Ibec has identified a lack of investment in the economy as a major constraint to progress.
The €116bn 10-year National Development Plan, which will see capital spending exceed 4% of economic output, is visionary and comprehensive.
Together with the National Planning Framework it will allow us to plan for a larger population and for better distribution of economic activity across all regions.
Ibec Midlands Regional President Ciaran Corcoran stated: “We now have a significant opportunity to position the midlands as a region with viable scale, incorporating a diverse social and industrial ecosystem with long term sustainable impact for future generations”. Meanwhile, Project Ireland 2040, presents opportunities to unlock the region’s growth potential and allow it to expand and grow in a sustainable way.
“The Ibec Midlands REC lobbied extensively to highlight regional challenges such as infrastructure capacity and the absence of a regional centre which needed to be addressed.
“The identification of Athlone as the key regional centre for the midlands with a clear strategic focus on its growth and development, will position it to be a central driving force, thus ensuring economic growth and advancement for the entire region, while the upgrading of the N4 will be a key catalyst in attracting additional investment and will offer an improved quality of life for all,” added Mr Corcoran.
He also said that investment was of major strategic importance to business because it will facilitate access, improve connectivity and boost productivity.
It will also underpin the regional contribution to the national economy and is extremely positive to see these priorities reflected in the plan, he state.
In addition, investment in Ireland West Knock Airport and in Athlone Institute of Technology will further strengthen their role as drivers of economic development in the region in relation to access and local talent generation for the future and an increase in IDA properties in the midlands is a welcome announcement.
The ready availability of serviced sites with appropriate zoning is essential for attracting investments to the region in the future.
Project Ireland 2040 can have a transformative impact on the economic well-being of the Midlands. The capacity to grow and the scope for development within the region is substantial.