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21/10/2021

Kilkenny Chamber outlines Budget ‘wishlist’ at first public event since pandemic

‘Putting Place First’ based on three points aiming for a thriving, sustainable Kilkenny

KILKENNY

Deirdre Shine (Bank of Ireland), Marion Acreman (MacDonagh Junction), Anne Barber (Butterslip), Claire McInerney Brown (Suasmane Ltd), Mags Clancy (Transfer Mate) and Roisin McQuillan (Chamber)

Kilkenny Chamber has unveiled its pre-Budget submission as eyes turn towards next Tuesday’s big announcements.

At the Chamber’s first public event to be held since the pandemic, CEO John Hurley outlined the finer points to members.
Current Chamber President Colin Ahern welcomed the group to the Ormonde Hotel for the special morning briefing.

The Chamber’s submission is themed ‘Putting Place First’ and is based on three points. It aims to create a framework for a sustainable recovery by strategically aligning the recommendations with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Deirdre Shine (Bank of Ireland), Paschal Bergin (Paschal Bergin Accountants), Colin Aherne (President Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce), Brian Keyes (Iconic Media Group) and John Hurley (CEO Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce) PICTURES: VICKY COMERFORD

The first theme focuses on a strategy for towns and cities. It calls for local authorities to be resourced for town health checks. It seeks delivery of housing, both new developments and incentives to convert vacant and disused units. Finally, it seeks the delivery of a TUSE campus for Kilkenny.

The second theme is Delivering on Climate Action and Sustainable Infrastructure. This theme urges the completion of the Kilkenny Ring Road. Mr Hurley said this would facilitate the removal of unnecessary traffic from the city centre, while there should be enhanced facilities for cycling and walking.

The third theme focuses on Inclusive and Productive Local Economies. It calls for an extension of the commercial rates waiver, and the introduction of a redundancy rebate scheme for sole traders and SMEs. It calls for the extension of the Small Benefits Exemption to €1,000 and the extension of the reduced VAT rate for tourism and hospitality businesses until 2023.

Mr Hurley said the Chamber would also like to see the introduction of a ‘Stay and Spend’ local voucher for all adults to spend on tourism and hospitality targeted at the ‘shoulder season’.

“Kilkenny Chamber puts ‘place’ at the heart of how we engage with local economies, and how we serve the interests of member businesses,” said Mr Hurley.

“The ambition for more sustainable towns and cities, with thriving urban centres, is therefore a central priority of our work. It is with this vision in mind that we want Budget 2022 to be place-orientated, putting sustainable local economies at the heart of Government policy.”

The briefing was attended by Chamber directors, Board members and public representatives.

The Chamber is now making preparations for the annual Kilkenny Business Awards, due to take place on November 20.

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