Updated: 31/08/17 : 05:06:46
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Digital Economy Key to Balanced Regional Development – Harkin

A fully functioning nationwide digital economy would provide each of Ireland’s regions with the tools necessary to build on its strengths and contribute to a stronger national economy by building stronger regional economies.

This was the view of Independent MEP Marian Harkin when she spoke at the 34th International Manufacturing Conference organised by the Sligo Institute of Technology in Sligo in conjunction with the Irish Manufacturing Council.

“The digital economy gives Ireland an opportunity to shake off the restrictions of peripherality, allows us to move centre stage to achieve the objective of balanced regional development which as a politician I have always advocated”, she suggested.

The EU was providing Ireland with substantial financial supports towards achieving tangible progress on improving its position in the digital economy, including €75 million in support for Ireland’s National Broadband Plan, she said.  “Under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in the Border, Midlands and West Region alone, in conjunction with government funds 200 new researchers have been delivered, 144,000  previously unserved households have been provided with high speed broadband, 3,600 new jobs created in micro enterprises and 10,000 homes provided with improved energy efficiency”, she said.

The Independent MEP congratulated Sligo IT on receiving approval for the establishment of the Precision Engineering and Manufacturing Technology Gateway for the North West Region whose objective would be to address the identified technology needs of the manufacturing industries of the region.

“This is a hugely significant development and positions Sligo IT as one of Ireland’s leading 3rd level institutions helping to open up national and global opportunities by driving the innovation and research that is essential for business development and growth in the North West”, Marian Harkin said.