Success of regional economies central to long-term economic growth
Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, has said that ensuring that our regional economies are competitive, resilient and inclusive will be central to long-term economic growth and social advancement. This was the key message at today’s Regional Insights Series, Ibec’s flagship annual event, this year taking place virtually for the first time.
Business leaders from across Ireland will outline the golden opportunities being presented by projects such as the National Development Plan to provide for better infrastructure and service provision, ranging from transport, energy and water infrastructure through to healthcare, social services and investment in education.
Speaking at the event, Ibec CEO Danny McCoy said: “We must plan for growth by striving to be a better place to live and work. Each of our regional economies must be supported in their ambition in striving to be amongst the most liveable regions in the world.
“The immediate focus must be on getting people back to work, bringing vibrancy back into commercial districts, offices, towns across Ireland to ensure the economic activity needed to reduce long term scarring in our society. The post-pandemic economic fate of the towns and cities of Ireland cannot be left to chance. It must be planned for and invested in.
“Sustainable regional enterprise growth delivering new jobs and investments requires an adequate supply of commercial and residential property, attractive areas to live and availability of skills.
“The success of our economic recovery will be shaped by our capacity to engage in international connectivity and mobility. Demand for international travel to and from Ireland will experience a slower recovery than many other sectors. This will impact the tourism and wider experience economy; the tourism sector is the most exposed sector in the region to Brexit.”
Ahead of the event, Ian O’Flynn, Head of Commercial & Corporate Affairs of Gas Networks Ireland, event sponsors of the Regional Insights Series, said: “Irish businesses have shown incredible resilience during the Covid-19 pandemic. We have seen essential sectors like healthcare, pharma, food production and retail step up to support the people of Ireland. We have also seen the sacrifice made by other sectors who have put the public good ahead of their own needs and closed their doors. Our own team in Gas Networks Ireland has worked tirelessly to ensure that energy supplies continue uninterrupted to all our customers including hospitals, homes and businesses.
“Ibec’s Reboot & Reimagine campaign, launched earlier this year, sets out an ambitious national recovery plan and a pathway to a better and more sustainable economy and society in Ireland. This campaign is hugely relevant to Gas Networks Ireland as we also have a reimagined vision for the gas network. Gas Networks Ireland provides a secure, competitive energy supply that meets over one third of Ireland’s energy needs. This supply is particularly important to businesses. As one of Ireland’s leading energy utilities, we must lead on climate change. We will transform our vital energy network by replacing the natural gas with renewable gases such as biomethane and hydrogen.
“We have already introduced renewable gas, in the form of biomethane, on to our network and we will soon be opening a Hydrogen Innovation Centre n which we will be assessing the impact of hydrogen on the gas network and appliances. We believe the energy system of the future will be a partnership of renewable electricity and renewable gas and the journey towards that future has begun.”
With thanks also to Vodafone Ireland, associate sponsors for this year’s event.