Constituency Minister of State, Deputy Peter Burke, visited numerous businesses and educators in Athlone in recent times.
The Westmeath TD first point of call was Baylin National School where an impressive new extension is being currently built, the school having received funding from the Department of Education towards the culmination of the summer. The new build will involve two new classrooms and is badly needed due to the increasing numbers in the school, where 30 new students are due to commence their education journey next September.
Deputy Burke then visited Regina and Ronan Bushell at Grovelands Childcare where management outlined the challenges presented by Covid-19 to the sector and further outlined the innovation shown in order to continue to care for high numbers of children over a number of premises.
Athlone Chamber was then descended upon by Deputy Burke, where the Minister of State met both CEO, Gerry McInerney, President, Alan Shaw, and local Fine Gael Councillor, John Dolan. The Athlone Chamber have a number of exciting plans for the new year and detailed plans to increase membership and services available to all members.
The Minister then walked up to the Sheraton Athlone, where Padraig Sugrue and Jonny O’Sullivan of the Hodson Bay Group met with him to discuss a number of pressing issues facing the hospitality industry. Minister Burke acknowledged the very difficult year the industry had experienced and stated that An Tánaiste will be announcing further supports for hospitality in due to the ongoing problems that will be experienced in 2021 owing to the lack of international travel.
Finally, the Westmeath Deputy met with Alfie Kilduff, Chairman of the Board of the Dean Crowe Theatre, yet another institution severely impacted by Covid-19, the discussion focussing upon supports and plans for the arts centre over the coming period.
“It was great to be in Athlone today and see businesses and service providers getting back on their feet. Some shops and entrepreneurs outlined a real surge in custom and support in this very important period, while undoubtedly many sectors will continue to need government support such as the EWSS, the CRSS and the Pandemic Unemployment Payment to stay afloat in the coming year.
“I will be outline the supports needed by these sectors, as stated to me by Athlone business people and educators, back to central Government. We must continue to support our people through this uncertain time and I am hopeful that things will improve significantly as we move through 2021,” Deputy Burke asserted.