Hosted by Athlone Chamber of Commerce and RBK Chartered Accountants, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Michael McGrath, recently addressed business leaders at a pre-budget breakfast meeting in the Sheraton Hotel Athlone - the timing of the event coincided with the publication of the Summer Economic Statement.
At the start of July, Deputy McGrath, along with the Finance Minister Paschal Donohue, announced the introduction of record levels of Government spending on tax cuts and welfare increases to the sum of €6.7bn to help counteract the increasing cost of living and inflation that has impacted the country over the past several months.
At the event Minister McGrath commended the Technological University of the Shannon on their vital role played in the attracting of small medium enterprises as well as large multinational corporations to the midlands region. With these corporations also comes a talent pool of prospective students from diverse backgrounds who provide a varying range of skills and characterises with beneficial insights on an international level.
Minister McGrath also acknowledged IDA Ireland on the part they played in the continued support of Irish businesses as well as putting Ireland at the forefront of foreign direct investment in Europe. This can be seen by the extension of the IDA centre in Athlone as well as the announcement of 250 new jobs by Ericsson and 180 new jobs by PPD in the last 3 months.
Also in attendance was the President of Athlone Chamber of Commerce, Alan Shaw, who acknowledged that businesses were for a long time now, struggling to adapt to “shock-prone” surroundings.
“The key issues that we need the Government to address are housing, talent and energy. We need the Government to act strategically and decisively in finding solutions and steering us away from crisis and towards prosperity,” Mr Shaw asserted.
“It was great to hear from The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Michael McGrath, on preparations for the upcoming Budget 2023 and for the opportunity to input into the budgeting process from a business perspective. The Minister provided an honest assessment of the ongoing challenges faced by business owners in the midlands and was reassuring in that this increase of Government spending would be beneficial to all,” Brian Feeney, Partner at RBK Chartered Accountants, commented after the event.
The event was closed by the Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Deputy Robert Troy, who praised the local business community and its resilience in the past number of months and highlighted the government’s commitment to the growth of Athlone and its surrounding regions.