Letterkenny Chamber hosts President’s Lunch
Members turn out to hear from Deputy McDonald, Leader of Sinn Fein
Letterkenny Chamber President addressed a room full of businesses as the Chamber welcomed Deputy Mary Lou McDonald to Letterkenny. The President’s Lunch was an opportunity for networking and in this case to brief the Leader of the opposition on the issues that impact members and the growth of the North West Region.
At the event Fionnuala Rabbitt, President of Letterkenny Chamber outlined the issues that act as inhibitors to growth and investment. The North & Western Region has been designated as a transition region by the EU. This means the region is lagging behind others in the country. This is caused by lack of investment in infrastructure which has contributed to reducing competitiveness and productivity and attractiveness in the region, as a place to invest.
Specifically, she further emphasised the case for the Ten-T Network and Western Transport Route (A5/N2) which if delivered would make for safer journeys, more predictable travel times and make this region much more accessible.
In terms of Housing, the crisis is well documented although it is exacerbated here in Donegal because of the Defective Blocks issue. Many businesses are finding that potential employees are having major challenges with finding places to live resulting in undue stress, pushing out start dates or turning down roles.
Among other issues discussed were Air access to Dublin through Donegal Airport and City of Derry and potential of a Rail Network in the future.
Chamber President, Fionnuala Rabbitt said at the event;
“Our role in Letterkenny Chamber is to lobby and advocate for our members. In recent surveys members have consistently told us about the issues and concerns that impact them on an ongoing basis. This event gave us the opportunity to put forward the case for Donegal and the North West to the Leader of the largest opposition party. We have been lobbying over many years that Donegal needs significant investment to redress the balance. As we are now designated as a Transition Region we along with other key stakeholders are taking all the opportunities we can to ensure Donegal and the North West City Region is clearly saying that we are open for opportunities’. “
Deputy McDonald addressed the key challenges and issues, she also reassured the audience of business people that if they were in power there would be no surprises in terms of tax regimes. She understood what will be needed to ensure levelling up in this region and recognised the importance of the County’s position in terms of the North West City Region.
The event also included a panel made up of Seamus Hughes, VP, Zeus Industrial Products, Orla Flynn, President ATU and Charlene Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer for PGIM Private Capital (Ireland) Limited.
They clearly articulated the challenges and opportunities for the region. They reinforced the need for balanced regional development, for increased funding to bring the region up to the level of other regions clearly setting out what would be required to enable the region to deliver on its ambitions.
In particular they talked of the need for a programme of housebuilding that would deliver housing at the level needed to ensure the region can attract and retain skills and talent. They all agreed that given the right level of investment they and the stakeholders in the region can deliver the competitiveness and prosperity needed.
Reflecting on the event Fionnuala said “This event was attended by businesses and stakeholders from across the North West. It was a clear display of our passion for the County and Region. Deputy McDonald was left in no doubt that should the region be given the right level of investment it will deliver.”
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