Bishops in the west of Ireland have been re-assured that the Council for the West will continue to lobby for employment creation throughout the region.
That was the key message delivered by members of the Council for the West when they met with the western bishops last week.
Council for the West was established by the Western Bishops in 1994, it successfully campaigned for the retention of Objective 1 status for the Border, Midlands, West (BMW ) region.
“At last week’s meeting, our vice chairman Declan O’Callaghan made a full presentation to the Bishops, and made them aware of our on-going work of prioritising employment creation throughout the region through focusing on key areas of growth potential and specific infrastructural requirements such as investment in roads, rail, air transport, telecoms/broadband and energy including renewables,” said Sean Hannick, chairman.
“The objective is to ensure that this region increases its competitiveness with the rest of the country so as to attract additional investment. This requires us to consistently highlight the particular strengths of the region in areas such as tourism, the creative economy, food production, agriculture, the marine, the green economy, software, medical devices and other sectors.”
Among the current campaigns is for Government support for Ireland West Airport Knock of €75m over the next five years to secure the expansion of routes and aviation-related business. “It is essential that the Government make this commitment,” Mr Hannick told the bishops.
He also reported that the Council for the West had furnished a detailed submission to the newly-established Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA ).
“It is only by including appropriate monitoring, evaluation and management provisions as key components of CEDRA’s strategy that we will ensure that its Report becomes the real driver of job creation and sustainable economic development that rural areas including the west so require, and not just another report that will gather dust on Government shelves,” explained Mr Hannick.
Dr Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam and Right Rev Patrick Rooke, Church of Ireland Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry spoke on behalf of the Bishops and thanked the Council for their on-going work on a variety of fronts.