Economic corridor targeted with bringing jobs to the west

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Cabinet members at the launch of the initiative in Longford this week.

The development of an Atlantic Economic Corridor under the new Government Rural Action Plan – including an advance factory on IDA lands in Tuam, a business innovation ‘hub’ and marine investment in the Gaeltacht – has the potential to create hundreds of new jobs in Galway in the coming years.

And it is also planned to inject new life into towns and villages across the county with investment in renewal schemes; increasing residential occupancy and funding for community, sports and arts initiatives.

However, Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West, Éamon Ó Cuív described the plan as “a leprechaun proposal . . . you never actually get the crock of gold”.

The plan sets out a series of 276 actions aimed at improving the economic and social life of rural Ireland.

Under the plan, the IDA will “accelerate the development” of six new advance buildings, including one in Tuam, with a completion date by the end of 2019. An innovation hub is also planned for the Conamara Gaeltacht to foster entrepreneurship – this will be brought forward by Údarás na Gaeltachta this year.

Galway West TD and Gaeltacht Affairs Minister Seán Kyne said the plan is hugely important for Galway and the West of Ireland.

“The plan will help realise the potential of Galway towns and villages with coordinated supports across a range of areas. We are aiming to implement measures that will help make rural towns and villages in Galway vibrant places in which to live, work and socialise.”

He added that the development of an Atlantic Economic Corridor – to promote more balanced regional development – aims to generate an increase in Foreign Direct Investment in the West of between 30 and 40% between now and 2019 and to introduce a Marine Development and Investment Strategy for the Gaeltacht.

Minister Kyne said a new Tourism Investment and Development Strategy for the Gaeltacht will be drawn up, and assistance will be provided for the promotion of island development and tourism.

A small grants scheme will be tolled out for regional arts and culture centres; there will be increased funding supports to regional museums; an increase in investment in small festivals and network of culture teams and creativity hubs will be developed in each local authority area.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.