I want to commend Meath County Council, its Cathaoirleach Cllr. Jim Holloway, Chief Executive Jackie Maguire, Economic Director Kevin Stewart and all their hard working staff for the launch of the new Meath Economic Strategy 2014-2022.
Those who contributed their practical experience and expertise to this strategy as part of the Meath Economic Forum under former Taoiseach John Bruton must also be thanked.
As I told the launch event today, only a positive, unified, consistent and evidence based approach will win new jobs, new business and new investment for Co. Meath.
Through the Strategy Launch, and the work feeding into it, Meath is announcing proudly to Ireland and the World that it has the people, skills, location infrastructure and native business ‘know how’ and success to greatly enhance and expand any outside enterprise that wants to make its home here.
The New Stone Age monuments of Newgrane, Knowth, Dowth and Loughcrew are often cited from a tourism point of view, and rightly so. But they also represent Meath’s proud history of innovation and invention established over 5000 years ago right up until the present day. That is the spirit and the energy we must channel into in the years ahead.
Meath County Council’s approach in putting itself front and centre at the heart of enterprise promotion in the County is one of the most progressive in the country. It represents a true embracing of the potential of last year’s Local Government reforms.
County Councils are about improving the quality of life of a County’s citizens. Good quality sustainable jobs are the best guarantee of quality of life. New sustainable locally based jobs are also the best guarantee that Meath County Council has the resources it needs to keep Meath at the forefront in enterprise, in tourism and in overall quality of life indicators.
The boom years were symbolised by excess and wasted opportunities. Whilst Meath got a legacy of excellent motorways it missed out on FDI and became a dormitory County for Dublin. Now as recovery takes hold, Meath must be aggressive and unapologetic in promoting its own interests to the country, and to the World.
All of us, no matter our political loyalties or personal ambitions, must go out and sell a message of positivity and hope about Meath’s future and potential. It is time for us all to don the Royal jersey and work together.
This issue transcends politics. It is about parish and place. It’s about jobs to keep people at home, and jobs to bring people back home. The massively successful Tayto Park adorns the Meath jersey, and its ‘can do’ and ‘never say never’ approach and achievements should inspire us as Meath people in both sport and in business.