Long term economic growth and recovery lie not solely in multi-nationals, but in the micro and small business sectors which make up some 90 per cent of all Irish business.
This is the view of Ronan Garvey, who this week declared his intention to stand as an Independent candidate in Connemara for the Local Elections in May.
Mr Garvey’s entrance to the race brings to 16 the number of candidates seeking election to nine seats. He is also the third Independent, after sitting councillors Tom Welby and Seosamh Ó Cuaig.
A founder member of The Connemara Loop and the owner of the three Sleepzone operated hostels in Connemara, Galway city, and The Burren, Mr Garvey is campaigning on a platform of boosting small businesses in Connemara and the region’s tourist industry.
Mr Garvey points out that well more than 90 per cent of all Irish businesses are micro businesses (ie, fewer than 10 employees ) or small businesses (10 to 49 employees ), and that these two categories between them provide 50 per cent of all private sector employment. As a result, he argues, the State’s economic future and sustainable job creation is reliant on such small businesses.
“I want a better environment for small businesses in Connemara, with a particular focus on tourism which underpins almost all economic activity in the region,” he said. “We live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet and tourism is an important industry, but we have the potential for the sector to be so much more,” he said.
The third main platform of Mr Garvey’s campaign is transparency, accountability, and reform within local government.
“If you have a position in senior public office and you’re shown to be incompetent (or worse ) at your job, it seems the penalty is early retirement with a top-up to your pension and a golden handshake,” he said. “It can’t be right. We have it within ourselves to change this by electing people who will demand accountability.”