Three things that must happen to help Kilkenny in wake of new economic report - Chamber

'Challenges outlined in South East Economic Monitor report must be acknowledged, but equal attention has to be paid to progress'

Sam Matthews

Reporter:

Sam Matthews

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

High Street

High Street: Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce, which represents over 250 business members, says the report must now be grasped as a 'positive opportunity' to challenge key decision makers

Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce has said the challenges facing the region as outlined in the recent South East Economic Monitor report must be acknowledged, but equal attention has to be paid to progress which is occurring.

In a response to the report, the organisation has put forward three things that it says can help turn the South-East's fortunes around. It also says it believes the report is 'counter-productive' in asserting that the region's recovery has run out of steam.

Representing over 250 member businesses across Kilkenny City and county, Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce says the document must now be grasped as a 'positive opportunity' to challenge key decision makers to step up and support the region.

Issues linked to the relationship between the South-East and Government were cited as a factor preventing key economic drivers from taking place in the region. The Chamber says the time has now come for stronger and more robust relationships to be built with the various agencies charged with a similar task.

“It is no secret that Kilkenny and the South-East region face very significant challenges when accessing investment and funding at a national level," says Chief Executive of Kilkenny Chamber John Hurley.

"Historically, this has been an issue and we must ensure that the region is represented strongly and consistently at local, regional and national levels as a great place to do business so that it gets its fair share of the action.” 

The report contains analyses of data such as car sales, income tax and VAT returns, housing and workers on minimum wage, as well as the labour market. 

“We know that the South-East is not only a great place to do business in, but a great place to live in," says President of Kilkenny Chamber Marion Acreman.

"While the attraction and retention of talent in high-skilled roles is a concern for companies in the South-East, it is also one which is shared right across Ireland. The vision of the region as a whole is one which has to be promoted and encouraged to ensure that we continue attracting highly skilled workers here. The South-East must now step up and set itself apart as a great location to do business.”

READ MORE HERE: ECONOMIC RECOVERY HAS COME TO AN END

Kilkenny Chamber has also pointed to a survey undertaken by National Recruitment & HR Services Group Collins McNicholas in conjunction with IDA Ireland. It found that growing numbers of highly-skilled professionals from across the world are choosing the South-East as it offers a better work/life balance, lower living costs and career opportunities when compared with other regions.

Some 95% of respondents from 20 different countries said that they now have a better balance between their working and home lives.

Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce are now calling for:

  • Support for the creation of the Technical University for the South-East without delay;
  • The N24 be upgraded to motorway standard as soon as possible;
  • Increased positive collaboration between stakeholders in the region such as local authorities, Local Enterprise Offices, Colleges, ETB’s, Chambers, IDA, Enterprise Ireland.