The opinion piece below was prepared by the Chamber President, Vivian Cummins, following our attendance at a series of events in Co. Kildare during October and our discussions around the clear signs of economic growth. It is an attempt to join the dots of all of the activity happening in the county.
The article has gained a great deal of traction in the media and was published in full by the Kildare Nationalist, Leinster Leader and Kildare Post.
We are happy to post it here for your convenience.
Allan Shine, CEO
Hundreds of millions earmarked for County Kildare
Business Sentiment | State of the County | October 2015
It is important to step back and take stock occasionally of where we are in Co. Kildare. By having an overview one can see patterns that are not obvious from the day to day endeavour. Having done so as part of the North Kildare Chamber of Commerce strategic appraisal it becomes clear that there are many really good things happening in our county particularly in the last month and even in the last week that are worthy of acknowledgement as indicators of growth. Confidence and optimism is prevalent in certain sectors of the business communities in Co. Kildare and this is perhaps something we now need to focus on by celebrating where there has been positive development.
The announcement at the beginning of October that the Government was to invest over € 100 million in the M7 upgrade, Sallins by-pass and Osberstown Interchange was good news for Kildare and for those using these access roads. It will be a huge boost to local industry and the wider economy. Later in October the Taoiseach opened the Kerry Global Technology & Innovation Centre in Naas. This is another € 100 million investment project, which after two years in development, already employs 800 people with roles in research, product commercialisation, business development and support, with a further 100 positions to be created by the end of 2016. On the same day, An Taoiseach visited the proposed new education campus in Millennium Park and spoke at Mongey Communications offices in Naas where a €3 million investment into the company was announced. The Chamber also heralded the announcement of Chamber member, Rye River Brewing who plan to move to a state of the art facility in Celbridge and create 100 new jobs. Celbridge will also benefit from a new 37,000 sq foot Primary Care Centre with a completion date of January 2017.
Last week the joint announcement by Kildare County Council and the Department of the Environment of the purchase of the Dominican church and lands in the centre of Athy to the value of € 10 million and earmarked for community development was welcome news for Athy and South Kildare. This was followed with an announcement of a € 65 million development plan to upgrade the racecourse at the Curragh, including a new grandstand, weigh room, parade ring and museum of Irish racing. The shareholders include the Turf Club, Horseracing Ireland and a consortium of racing enthusiasts including HH the Aga Khan. On Thursday the € 50 million Phase 2 extension of the Kildare Village was opened, where a further 400 jobs have been created in the 33 new shops; bringing the total number of units to 100. This latter development in conjunction with several other smaller retail investments is a clear indicator that County Kildare is in a phase of growth again.
To cap a fantastic week and month the North Kildare Chamber of Commerce announced the shortlisted candidates in its Countywide Annual Business Awards. Twenty seven businesses will compete in nine categories for entrepreneurship and innovation with the results to be announced at a gala ceremony in the K-Club on 27th November.
What unites all of the developments above is that they are clear examples of joined up thinking to galvanise the limited resources available in the interests of all stakeholders. The various public and private agencies worked together to ensure their success. From the Chamber’s meetings with the IDA in New York last month, at the invitation of the Irish Chamber of Commerce USA, it was evident that one of the most attractive attributes of a region for Foreign Direct Investment is where there is clear evidence of collaboration between Local Authority, Academia and Private Business. Being the catalyst for such cooperation remains one of the principal strategic objectives of the North Kildare Chamber in the coming year.
The Chamber is mindful that not everyone is yet experiencing signs of recovery and this is where we also have to focus on. We will continue to host seminars on addressing business and commerce issues into 2016.
President of the North Kildare Chamber of Commerce