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Clare Economic Taskforce Holds First Meeting

The Clare Economic Taskforce held its inaugural meeting at Áras Contae an Chláir, Ennis.

The Taskforce was convened by Pat Dowling, Chief Executive of Clare County Council, to inform and guide appropriate economic measures that will stimulate job creation in County Clare.

The group comprises public and private sector leaders and is chaired by retired Ambassador Noel Kilkenny, former Consul General of Ireland in New York.

The Clare Economic Taskforce will assist Clare County Council to:

1. Identify the immediate priority actions required to maximise the area’s local and regional economic potential;

2. Develop future resilience in the local and regional economy. The Taskforce will progress medium and long-term projects and actions;

3. The Taskforce will examine how Clare, as part of the Mid-West region, can facilitate and enable decentralised employment opportunities;

4. The Taskforce will examine how national, EU and international capital investment opportunities can underpin Clare’s future economic growth;

5. The Taskforce will build economic confidence in Clare and the Mid-West region;

6. The Taskforce will open business and political communication channels to assist all sectors of the County Clare economy.

Working with the Council, the Taskforce will help to formulate and communicate consistent county messaging in relation to Clare’s future economic development.

Noel Kilkenny, Chair of the Clare Economic Taskforce, said: “In the current economic climate, it is important to take a coordinated approach to assist those sectors most impacted by Covid-19. Every effort must be made to ensure the future competitiveness of the local economy.

“The members of the Taskforce have a wealth of experience and knowledge that will help to inform the local and regional response to the challenges that have arisen. Its purpose is to look at the concrete measures that can be taken and, as the name ‘taskforce’ implies, to set ambitious tasks and to work with Clare County Council to ensure that the tasks are completed for the benefit of the economy and people of Clare.”

Pat Dowling, Chief Executive, Clare County Council, said: “The Taskforce is convened to help Clare get back on its feet by dealing with the aftermath of the impact of Covid-19 on the local economy and by exploring and delivering new opportunities to make Clare different, bigger and better in the future. Our approach will be to join forces, to adapt, to plan our way ahead, and to be bold, resilient and, most of all, positive.”

Liam Conneally, Director of Service, Economic Development and Planning, Clare County Council, said: “As well as being strategically located on the Atlantic Economic Corridor in proximity to Limerick and Galway Cities, Clare has a number of enviable strategic assets. First among these are its people. With 18,000 graduates per annum in the region, the county has access to a highly skilled workforce. The county’s accessibility to key infrastructure including the M18, Shannon Airport and the Shannon Estuary presents an opportunity for development.

“The Taskforce will guide Clare County Council in the delivery of key strategic projects. There are a number of noteworthy projects currently in train, including Ennis 2040, which will drive the physical, social and economic development of the town and county, the Roche Masterplan, the Shannon Town Centre Masterplan and the Shannon Integrated Framework Plan.

“It is anticipated that there will be future ‘cluster’ opportunities in areas such as life sciences, the bioeconomy, financial services, tourism/hospitality and, looking forward, new technologies and the green economy. With the many strategic assets identified in County Clare, the question will be how we maximise those assets for the benefit of the county. This Taskforce provides a forum in which to answer that question.”

Clare Economic Taskforce members:

Noel Kilkenny, Clare Economic Taskforce Chair;

Mick Guinee, Chairman and Chief Executive, Ei Electronics;

Rose Hynes, Chairman, Shannon Group PLC;

Dómhnal Slattery, Chief Executive Officer, Avolon;

Gerry Cahill, Managing Director, Roche;

Allen Flynn, Flynn Hotels, and President, Ennis Chamber of Commerce;

Stephen Keogh, President, Shannon Chamber of Commerce;

William Corcoran, Regional Manager (Mid-West Region), IDA;

Jerry Moloney, Regional Director (Mid-West), Enterprise Ireland;

Pat Dowling, Chief Executive, Clare County Council; and

Liam Conneally, Director of Service, Clare County Council.

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