‘Towns are also open for business’

Kilkenny city and the area around Belview port in South Kilkenny are not the only business opportunities in the county, says Cllr Michael O’Brien (Lab).

Kilkenny city and the area around Belview port in South Kilkenny are not the only business opportunities in the county, says Cllr Michael O’Brien (Lab).

Speaking in a discussion about the up-coming update of the county’s economic development strategy and growing links with China, he said that the towns of the county must not be forgotten.

The Thomastown-based councillor maintained that Kilkenny had been damaged by previous policy to concentrate most resources in the city area.

“There is not a sustainable job left in any of the four scheduled towns, Thomastown, Callan, Graignamanagh or Castlecomer,” he said.

He said that any meaningful forward planning for development would also have to correct the lack of political influence because in the past 15 years only three IDA-assisted companies were located in Kilkenny out of a total of 36 in the South East. He said that Kilkenny County Council should remind the “powers that be” to follow up the €50 million infrastructural investment in Belview with job opportunities.

Cllr O’Brien urged the county manager to continue with his work to support economic opportunities through the council’s affiliation with the Chinese province of Suzhou. He said the planned Kilkenny trade mission to China, which will include council chairwoman Marie Fitzpatrick, would “project a positive image of Kilkenny and its people as exporters of fine products and good people to do business with.”

“I would hope that as we move forward we would remember that there are real opportunities out there in the county,” he said at the council’s monthly meeting.