The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD, has told the new board of the Western Development Commission that he wants to see closer collaboration with other State bodies and greater strategic alignment with other players in the rural development sector at national and local levels. Speaking at the new board’s inaugural meeting in Ballaghaderreen, County Roscommon today, Minister Ring said that he wants the Commission to be more ambitious in relation to supporting job creation in the west of Ireland and to work more closely with other State bodies such as the IDA and Enterprise Ireland.
Minister Ring said: “Having an organisation that is focused on the development of the West of Ireland provides us with an opportunity which we must fully exploit. The Western Development Commission has had some great success in helping to generate jobs and investment and in promoting the region. But I believe there is a lot more which can be achieved for the west of Ireland through the Commission. In order to fulfil its great potential it cannot operate on its own.
“The Western Development Commission is an organisation with a vast knowledge and understanding of regional development in the west of Ireland. I fully believe that we can harness the Commission’s experience to help create jobs in the west of Ireland and to develop the region.
“In the last three years, there have arguably been more changes in the regional development arena than in the preceding ten years. An early challenge for the incoming Board will be to review the Commission’s position in the changed landscape and consider how best it can pursue its core objectives and make a wider contribution in the context of this changed landscape. I am looking forward to working more closely together to ensure that we have a shared vision for economic and social development in the West and that our objectives are aligned. We need to look at impact and use it to inform planning of future initiatives.
“As Minister for the newly formed Department of Rural and Community Development, I want to see all relevant State bodies work together coherently and effectively in order to help create more jobs in rural Ireland. I also want the WDC to be more ambitious in relation to supporting job creation. The Commission has built up an expertise in particular areas such as the Creative Industries and the Green Economy, but I believe the Board needs to explore other sectors for growth to make the best use of the west of Ireland’s assets and opportunities.
“This should include collaborating with Enterprise Ireland, the IDA, the Regional Assemblies and greater strategic alignment with the Local Authorities and the LEOs. We need to work more closely together to ensure that we have a shared vision for economic and social development in the West and that we’re all focused on the goal of rural economic development.
“And crucially, I believe that in order to be successful, the Commission’s strategies and actions must be consistent with the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development and the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs.
“This Government is building a Republic of Opportunity by ensuring that all parts of Ireland share prosperity and economic growth by delivering new roads, broadband, better third level institutions and more job opportunities. We still have a long way to go but I know that working together towards the same strategic goals is the only way to meet the challenges facing rural Ireland.
“Today’s first meeting of the board represents a new chapter for the Western Development Commission. I have put in place a high quality new board and I’m excited about the skills and experience they can bring. I believe that in Deirdre Garvey we have a Chair who can provide the leadership and vision needed to realise the potential of the Commission.”
Note to Editors
WDC Board Members listed below
|Dr. Deirdre Garvey||Head of Centre, Mayo Campus, GMIT (Outgoing Board member)|
|Mr. Ian Barrett
|MD, Care About You; former MD Resilience Healthcare|
|Mr. Noel Brett
|CEO, Banking & Payments Federation Ireland; former CEO Road Safety Authority|
|Ms. Mary P.Corcoran||Head of Dept of Sociology, Maynooth University|
|Mr. Michael Frain||MD, First Class Office, Co. Roscommon (Outgoing Board member)|
|Mr. Gerry Finn
|Former Directory of the Border and Western Regional Assembly|
|Mr. John Kelleher
|Head of Department, Computing and Creative Practices, Sligo IT|
|Mr. Christy Loftus
|Retired Communications Advisor and journalist|
|Mr. Henry McGarvey
|Secretary/Financial Controller, Letterkenny IT; former MD, Pramerica Systems Ireland|
|Ms. Auveen O’Neill||MD, AO Business Consultants; former mentor for Enterprise Ireland|
|Ms. Yvonne Shields
|Chief Executive, Commissioner of Irish Lights; non-Executive Director, SmartBay Ltd; former Director of Strategic Planning, Marine Institute|