Infrastructure investment key to unlocking potential of Mid-West and Kerry Region – Ibec

Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, met with Mid-West and Kerry TDs last week to discuss the impact of Brexit, key investment and planning priorities for the Mid-West and Kerry region along with measures needed in the budget to support business in the region.

Ibec Mid-West and Kerry Regional Director Mairead Crosby said: “Meeting with TDs gives the business community a great platform to outline the needs of businesses in the region. The Ibec Mid-West and Kerry Regional Executive Committee have consistently said that successful businesses are central to the region’s economic prospects and the creation of a truly dynamic, diverse economy. However, a thriving business community is directly linked to a strong infrastructure network. The committee believes that investment in infrastructure is the key to unlocking the great potential of the Mid-West and Kerry region.

“The National Planning Framework must deliver a networked approach to planning which can bring about a coordinated investment and planning strategy which builds on the individual strengths and opportunities of each of the region’s urban and rural areas. This will require a much more joined-up approach from national and local government than seen in the past.

“The level of capital investment allocated to the region needs to be substantially increased in the mid-term review of the capital investment plan. The short-term investment needs of the region include the N69 Foynes to Limerick, N22 Ballyvourney Macroom and the M20 Limerick to Cork road projects. Broadband also remains a key infrastructure gap with 48% of premises in the Mid West and Kerry region currently without access to high speed broadband. SMEs without access to high speed broadband can’t compete on a level playing field. Some companies wish to facilitate home-working, this requires high speed broadband. In addition, the shortage of housing supply has the potential to damage economic growth and employment in the region.
“Budget 2017 represents a clear opportunity to facilitate business investment and growth in all towns across the region. Given the challenges posed by the UK decision to leave the EU, creating jobs and maintaining a positive business environment should be the top priority as we navigate through this period of uncertainty and begin a new phase of regional development. Strategic planning and ambitious investment can help to establish the Mid-West and Kerry region as a dynamic, well connected hub for businesses to thrive,” concluded Ms Crosby.

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