Jobs and investment will not return to the north west without real reforms at national and European level, businessman and European candidate Declan Ganley has said. Mr Ganley said that his experience in setting up successful businesses in many countries had shown him that the most attractive places to invest and create jobs had certain qualities which the Irish government has allowed to disappear from the north west.
“Decent transport, health and education services are the first thing any investor will look at,” Mr Ganley said. If they are missing, then you will move on and set up somewhere else. In the north west, these services have been progressively eroded. Investors look at our region and see that they will have to travel hours for a hospital and send their children to school in prefabs – and that makes it very difficult for us.”
Declan Ganley continued: “The tragedy of all of this is that it would be very easy to make the north west a supremely attractive location to invest. We have clean water, almost limitless resources, friendly hard-working people, and beautiful surroundings. All we are lacking is a bit of vision from our politicians. For example, looking at the world today it is becoming very clear that clean drinking water will have to be exported from Ireland in the future to meet world demand. We should be getting ahead of that demand and putting the infrastructure in place to create jobs in that sector. Also, with world oil prices steadily rising, the potential for tidal, wind, and biomass energy to be produced here is very exciting.”
Mr Ganley said that as an MEP, his full time and energy would be devoted to improving the standing of the north west in the eyes of investors. “I go to investors’ conferences and people ask me why I live in rural Ireland rather than in New York or London. The answer is that we don’t know how lucky we are in this part of the world. The quality of life here is incredibly good compared to many places, but that is down to the people and the places, not the politicians.
"If we can focus over the next five years on selling ourselves and our region, and demand from our Government that they work with us, we can make this part of the country a driver for good, solid and sustainable economic growth."
Mr Ganley said that he had already outlined some specific plans to get Ireland through the current recession. “Our current focus must be on maintaining jobs. We need to make it easier for employers. We need to simplify VAT rules on cross border transactions. We need to employ all our skills nationally to roll out broadband infrastructure which will improve sales times and connectivity to the rest of the world. We need also to look at our tax system and introduce PRSI waivers on newly created jobs. You should not have to pay tax on creating a job when it benefits society so much.”