The Ibec South East Regional Executive Committee (REC), the group that represents business in the South East region, has today appointed the President of the Institute of Technology Carlow, Dr Patricia Mulcahy, as the new Ibec South East Regional President.
Speaking following the appointment, Ibec South East Regional Director John Farrell said: “I want to congratulate Dr Mulcahy on her appointment and wish her every success. We look forward to working with her on the challenges facing the region and continuing our close relationship with businesses in the South East during this time of renewed emphasis on balanced regional development.
Dr Mulcahy is also chairperson of the South East Regional Skills Forum. Speaking of the importance of the Forum, Mr Farrell said: "The South East Regional Skills Forum provides an important opportunity for employers and the education and training providers in the region to work together in addressing the skills needs in the South East.”
Political representatives from the region were also in attendance at today's meeting, including: Minister of State for Defence, Paul Kehoe; Minister of State for Local Government and Electoral Reform, John Paul Phelan; Pat Deering TD; and David Cullinane TD. Topics discussed during the meeting ranged from investment and planning priorities for the South East, to the challenges of Brexit, and the measures needed in the upcoming budget to instil confidence and support the region’s future growth.
Of the meetings with regional political representatives, Mr Farrell said, “Business will play a critical role in the future economic growth of the region. It is imperative that business takes the opportunity to liaise with policy makers in setting priorities to support business and drive development of the region. Meeting with political representatives in the South East gives the business community a platform to do that and help bring the region to a new phase of growth and prosperity.
“Priority must be given to the creation of a Technological University (TU) in the South East. Ibec is a strong supporter of the concept of a TU. The establishment of a TU is very closely aligned with the economic needs of the South East. It would help attract inward investment and retain regional talent. The economic and social pay-back for the region would be significant.
“The TU legislation needs to be enacted as a priority. Both Waterford Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Carlow are fully committed to the TU process and to working together to ensure its successful delivery for the region. We sincerely hope the legislation can progress without further delay.
“Ibec welcome the recent Government decision to reverse its debt reduction strategy of 45% of GDP, to allow for more capital investment. But the Government can, and must, do even more to implement long-term planning and place a sharper focus on increased infrastructure and education investment with the Exchequer funds now available. Better use must also be made of public-private partnerships (PPPs) and other non-Exchequer finance, such as from the European Investment Bank. The path towards this should begin with Budget 2018.
“Ibec South East is calling on Government to give the investment needs of the region the high priority they deserve in order to secure the future economic performance of the South East. Efficient delivery will be key and must be led by a comprehensive National Planning Framework. With the right infrastructure, skills supply and support in place, the South East region can play a significant role in addressing economic and societal imbalances.”