Séamus Hughes, General Manager of Zeus Industrial Products, has been appointed Chair of the American Chamber of Commerce North West Region. The announcement was made at the American Chamber’s annual Independence Day Lunch, at which over 400 people celebrate the close relationship between Ireland and the United States.
Speaking on his appointment, Mr. Hughes said that “the North West has successfully attracted investment across a number of sectors, particularly in Medical Devices, Financial Services and Engineering. I look forward to working with my colleagues from across the region to support the growth of investment and the creation new opportunities.
Séamus Hughes is the General Manager of Zeus Industrial Products, a world leader in material science and the production of high-polymer tubing used in demanding applications. Zeus is presently undergoing the construction of a 60,000 sq ft extension to its existing facility, an investment which will allow the company increase its employee workforce to approximately 225 employees over the coming years.
“A key to Ireland’s success in attracting investment is the skills and flexibility of our workforce. Our ranking as first in the world for the availability of both by the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook is a testament to this”, said Mr. Hughes. “In the North West we are supplied with a steady stream of well-educated graduates from the third level institutes in the area. We have also forged strong industry-academia links which are crucial to the transfer of knowledge, skills and expertise.”
Mr Hughes said that improving the region’s infrastructure will be his priority as agreed by NW members, in helping to secure future foreign direct investment for the region. “The two biggest areas of concern are the lack of motorway connections to Dublin, and the absence of a gas infrastructure. A motorway link to Dublin from Sligo and Letterkenny is crucial to the development of the region. Letterkenny and Sligo remain the only two designated Gateway towns with no motorway access. Equally important is the availability of a gas supply to industry as businesses without natural gas face higher energy costs, lack of choice in energy supply and face higher carbon charges. Developing the region’s infrastructure will strengthen the North West’s and enable us to better compete for new investment.
Mr Hughes also stated that American Chamber is calling for the successful conclusion of a comprehensive trade agreement between the EU and US. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could increase the volume and value of transatlantic trade, and boost jobs and income in both the EU and US. “Ireland’s attractiveness as a location for US investment means we are well placed to benefit from greater EU-US trade. A recent study by Copenhagen Economic forecasts TTIP could boost Irish GDP by 1% and exports by almost 3%”.
He concluded by expressing his confidence in the ability of the North West to continue to attract multinational investors. “With our skilled and adaptable workforce, geographic diversity and site options, I have no doubt that companies will continue to view the North West as an attractive location for investment.”