Westmeath County Council welcomes launch of Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan

Westmeath County Council has welcomed the launch, by Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Deputy Robert Troy, of the Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan.

The new Plan includes projects and initiatives across the four Midlands counties (Westmeath, Longford, Laois and Offaly ).

Stakeholder consultation sessions attracted attendees from across industry, public sector and higher education sectors from within the region, the sessions highlighting the high-level of collaboration and ambition that exists within the region, with a strong sense of optimism prevalent despite some regional challenges.

Three key strategic objectives were agreed, with discrete actions developed for each.

The three strategic objectives for the Midlands region to 2024 are:

Climate Action - Transition to a zero-carbon economy

• This objective aims to support the activities of the Midlands Regional Transition Team to develop transformative projects to guide emerging low-carbon focused projects across the region.

Capitalising on strengths of the Midlands through Smart Specialisation and Digitalisation

• This objective includes actions to capitalise and realise business, industry, and skills opportunities presented by TU status; leverage The Midlands Advanced Manufacturing Action Plan to position the region as an advanced manufacturing centre of excellence and develop a Smart Connected Technologies Cluster.

Positioning the Midlands as the destination of choice to live, work, visit, invest and learn

• This objective includes actions to promote and position the region as a community of choice; to support and develop additional flexible office solutions throughout the region, including the exploration of and the development of vacant properties; to progress and support tourism development, visitor experience development plans and the experience economy across the region and finally to establish a Regional Food and Drink Cluster in the Midlands.

“I am delighted to launch the Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan to 2024. This Plan represents the coming together of public and private sectors across Westmeath, Laois, Longford and Offaly to address the challenges unique to our region, and identify and put in place measures to seize the opportunities for the Midlands now and going forward.

“I want to congratulate Anne Cusack, Chair of the Midlands Steering Committee, Sarah Morgan, Midlands Programme Manager, and all the Steering Committee members for their work to develop this new plan for the region. I have had the pleasure of working with Anne and the Committee over the past year on this and am delighted to see the final product.

“I have been determined to ensure that funding will be available to underpin the ambitions of the Regional Enterprise Plans and I am very pleased that we have secured up to €180 million in funding over the coming years.

“This is necessary for the development of collaborative regional projects of scale that will drive delivery of the objectives developed in this Midlands Plan, and I encourage all to look at how best this funding can be used to support regional job creation and enterprise development into the future,” Deputy Troy enthused.

Delivering balanced regional growth is a stated objective within the Programme for Government and in the Economic Recovery Plan 2021. The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment contributes to the regional agenda in a number of ways, including through the enterprise agencies, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland; the Local Enterprise Offices and through national enterprise policy.

Speaking at the Launch event, Pat Gallagher, Chief Executive of Westmeath County Council, stated that the local authority was strong and steadfast in its support of the Plan.

“The council has been strong and steadfast in its support of the plan, which will see the Midlands become a leading region for advanced manufacturing and digitalisation. Westmeath is well placed to benefit from the plan through our central location with TUS and IMR developing the skills needed for us to attract jobs and investment to the county,” Mr Gallagher asserted.

 

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