A conference on “Strengthening and Developing Regional Economic Partnership” took place at the Department of Environment Building in Carraiglawn Wexford in late August and was organised by Ireland Newfoundland Connections in conjunction with Wexford County Council and the Centre for Newfoundland and Labrador Studies in Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT).
The conference was opened by Canadian Ambassador, His Excellency Loyola Hearn and by Cllr Kathleen Codd-Nolan, Chair of Wexford County Council. The proceedings were chaired by Dr Tom O’Toole, Head of School of Business at WIT.
The speakers included Dr Proinnsias Breathnach (NUI Maynooth), John Maher (WIT) Brian Ogilvie (IT Carlow), Deirdre Leacy (Zurich Insurance), Ed Hendrick (Sonru.com), Paddy Browne (Teagasc) and Craig Pollet (Municipalities Newfoundland & Labrador).
The participants received presentations which examined the economic and demographic profile of the South East, the rationale and operation of regional partnerships, the role of higher education in supporting enterprise activity, the experiences of indigenous and multi-national firms and the contribution of agricultural education, research and advice.
The key messages that emerged from the presentations and workshop discussions covered economic, institutional, managerial and political dimensions. These included:
the imperative of more meaningful responses from regional actors to the relative income and employment levels in the South East,
the need for more robust mechanisms in the Region to harness energy, capability and resources for economic development,
the selection of a combination of core traditional industry with emerging technologies and sectors as a basis for a planning focus in the short and medium term,
the desirability of fostering more cohesive and authoritative economic leadership,
the promotion of a deeper and broader economic ecosystem to sustain the range of connections and activities that underpin economic activity,
the mobilisation of regional actors in a strategic planning process as a prerequisite for successful alignment with national and international development agendas.
A report from the conference will be circulated shortly to participants and key stakeholder.
Further information may be obtained from John Maher at WIT (Tel 051-302457) or Amanda Byrne at Wexford County Council (Tel 053 – 9196559).
Back Row, L to R: Dr Proinnsias Breathnach (NUI Maynooth), Brian Ogilvie (IT Carlow), Paddy Browne (Teagasc). Front Row, L to R: Craig Pollet (Municipalities Newfoundland & Labrador), John Maher (WIT) Deirdre Leacy (Zurich Insurance), Ed Hendrick (Sonru)His Excellency Loyola Hearn (Ambassador of Canada)