As businesses in Galway face an extremely challenging Christmas, the Government’s commitment to publish a new remote-working strategy and introduce 350 remote working hubs can be transformative for the county’s economy, however a regionalised approach should now be prioritised, according to ACCA Ireland.
The professional accountancy body which has 1,300 members within Connacht say it is vital that plans are targeted and address the specific and unique needs of Galway which, according to research could be the most economically exposed part of Ireland due to Covid-19, with an exposure ratio of 46.1%, higher than Waterford, Limerick, Cork, or Dublin.
Last week the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment met with employer and employee representatives at the Labour Employer Economic Forum to discuss government strategy in this area, including the establishment of new hubs, as well as the upgrading of existing facilities. The Minster described remote working, home working, and blended working as becoming part of the "new normal".
Connacht's needs are different
Echoing the sentiments expressed by the Tánaiste, Eimear Finnegan, Chairperson of ACCA Connacht panel welcomed the commitment by government to deliver a holistic remote-working strategy and remote working hubs before the end of the year.
"While Covid-19 continues to decimate the SME sector within Galway and Connacht, these hubs can act as a catalyst for attracting high quality and well-paid jobs to the region, however engagement with regional business should now be prioritised so that investment meets the specific needs of the province, which are different to that of Leinster or Munster.”
Number of jobs on offer in Galway has dropped by a third
“Since January, the number of jobs on offer in Galway has dropped by a third and we have also seen the loss of events such as Galway as European City of Culture, underlining the stark regional challenges as we head towards the Christmas period.
“With a multitude of challenges now being faced, it is important that the new remote-working government strategy takes account of the region’s unique economic needs to ensure an equitable and targeted approach for our vital business sectors," she said.