Updated: 03/04/18 : 06:59:28
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Northern and Western Region ‘must be ready’ for regional growth opportunities

Limitations in infrastructure development in Northern and Western Region of Ireland is having a significant impact on the ability to do business says John Gaynor, ACCA Ireland Chair. “The region attracts over 25% of holiday-makers to Ireland but this market is seasonal, and the region needs longer term investment to ensure its sustained growth.”

John Gaynor was speaking at the ACCA Ireland Chairs Forum at Markree Castle, Sligo where business leaders met to share their views on business development.

Focusing on SME growth and regional development in Gaynor commented, “We know there are opportunities to create a uniquely attractive package for FDI but we cannot delay on key requirements that will help deliver this.

"With a low cost of living, high quality of life and a population where over 40% are third level educated, the Northern and Western Region offers an ideal place for investment with real and genuine opportunities. Global trends are suggesting that leading international companies are scaling back on urban development in favour of regional ties and that is something to be welcomed."

                    Sligo business people attending the event. Photo: Frances Muldoon

Mr Gaynor continued, “We need an environment where enterprise and businesses can flourish and that means investing in infrastructure across transport, broadband connectivity and business networks to make access to the region easier for those looking to invest.” In a global survey on internet speeds Ireland was positioned 36th trailing 25 other European nations. “This has to change,” commented Gaynor. “To be competitive we have to end the two-tiered system that currently defines Irish people’s access to broadband coverage between those who live in our urban capitals and those who do not.”

“Talent is being lost due to a lack of meaningful development and if the region is to maximise its opportunities for FDI it needs focused and sustained investment for businesses to succeed.”

John was joined by guest speaker, Chief Executive of DALATA Hotel Group PLC, Pat McCann as well as Director of First Western, Fiona Candon, Director of NWRA, David Minton, Manager of Westport Woods Hotel and President of IHF, Michael Lennon and CEO of Ireland West Airport, Joe Gilmore alongside representatives of ACCA Brian McEnery and Maggie McGhee.