This morning the Ardboyne Hotel in Navan plays host to the Action Plan for Jobs Mid East Stakeholder Forum which will help to formulate and develop a Regional Action Plan to build on the existing strengths and opportunities within the Meath, Kildare and Wicklow Region. Local Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation was on hand to officially welcome business people, policy makers and fellow politicians to his hometown.
“Meath is linked with the Dublin Region but we are also a County of many unique strengths and talents in our own right. We are ideally located to interact and engage not just with Dublin, but with a number of other regions particularly the Border, Midlands and South East” Minister English told the gathering this morning.
“This Mid East region including Meath now has an unemployment rate of 8.7% which is second only to Dublin amongst all the regions and well below the national figure of 9.8%. This represents a very significant achievement when one considers that in 2012, when the Action Plan for jobs was first launched, the unemployment rate for the region stood at close to 14%. However we need to continue to build on this progress” Minister English said.
“Meath’s connectivity with all regions represents a particular strength that we should seek to build upon. We have a strong diversified enterprise mix with a range of outstanding forward thinking companies and businesses operating across a range of different sectors. Meath Enterprise and Meath County Council’s vision of a Boyne Valley Food Hub as a centre of national and internationally innovation excellence in food is another example of the forward thinking vision of Meath people, which was again highlighted today” Minister English said.
We have a large highly skilled and well-educated workforce. We have a strong ETB aligned to local needs, and a new stand alone Dunboyne Post Leaving Cert. College, with good access to a wide variety of other Higher Education Institutes in surrounding regions. We also have wonderful cultural, heritage and tourist assets that are world-renowned. These are just some of the assets and strengths we possess in the region and no doubt more will be identified during the course of this morning’s Forum. The challenge today is to identify how we can capitalise on all of these strengths. But it is a challenge I know the local business community, local educators and local policy makers are well able for” stated the local Minister.
“Nationally, in the forthcoming Budget, and in future Budgets, and also through the new Capital plan 2016-2021 we will be supporting and rewarding work and enterprise through reducing the burden of tax and reforming our public spending so it best serves the consumer” concluded Minister English.