Ibec’s North West Regional Director, Terry Mac Namara
Connectivity, skills development and infrastructure provision must be prioritised to mitigate the impact of Brexit, Terry Mac Namara, Ibec’s North West Regional Director has said.
His comments come following a meeting between Ibec, the group that represents Irish business,and political representatives in the North West to set out the key investment and planning priorities for the region, as well as the measures required in the upcoming budget to support the region’s future growth.
Mr Mac Namara said, “Business will play a critical role in the future economic growth of the region. Connectivity, skills development and infrastructure provision must be prioritised, now more than ever, to mitigate the impact of Brexit on the region and strengthen our competitive position.
"It is imperative that business takes the opportunity to liaise with policymakers in setting priorities that support business and drive development of the region. Meeting with political representatives in the North West gives the business community a platform to do that and help bring the region to a new phase of growth and prosperity.”
“Successful businesses are central to the North West’s economic prospects and the creation of a thriving regional economy. However, a prosperous business community is dependent on a strong infrastructure network. Every business in the region would welcome greater investment in our road network. The current situation is having a direct effect on business productivity and growth. One of the main challenges for the region is peripherality, with poor accessibility placing the region at a distinct disadvantage in terms of attracting Foreign Direct Investment and economic development. Tourism and leisure remains one of the big potential growth areas for the region due to the North West’s natural beauty. However, the growth of inbound tourism to the region relies heavily on accessibility,” he said.
Mr Mac Namara said the need for investment in infrastructure was the key to supporting job creation here: “Investment in infrastructure is necessary to support job creation and develop the region's economy. It is a key concern for businesses in the region. Businesses are being held back in their efforts to improve productivity because of the lack of quality infrastructure. Insufficient broadband connectivity is a huge barrier to growth in the region and is putting local businesses at a significant disadvantage.
"Furthermore, it is vital we take decisive steps in Budget 2018 to offset the risks of Brexit. In order to support businesses, a multi-annual framework for funding Brexit mitigation should be put in place, targeted at supporting innovation, market diversification, upskilling and capital expenditure in equipment and machinery.”