The collective growth of regional cities must outpace Dublin over the next two decades, the Mid-West’s biggest annual gathering of business leaders has been told.
Addressing over 450 business people at the Limerick Chamber Regional Business Awards at the weekend, Ken Johnson, a Managing Partner at PwC MidWest, said that the draft National Planning Framework will see Dublin and its commuter belt account for almost half of the predicted growth by 2040, while Cork, Limerick and Galway will experience less than one-quarter of projected growth.
He said that for a more balanced economy to emerge over the coming decades and for Dublin to become one of Europe’s most liveable cities, a strong linkage between Limerick, Cork and Galway must be developed. These three cities would complement and better harness regional and national economic growth and development, he said.
“To restore more balanced development across the State, the regional cities need to grow at a faster pace than our now overheated capital. Harnessing the growth potential of, and cooperation between, the combined Cork-Limerick-Galway cities region needs to be at the core of the NPF,” Mr Johnson stated.
“The NPF must drive co-ordinated investment and development in our key strategic regional assets such as Shannon International Airport and Shannon Foynes Port. We need a National Aviation Policy which recognises the strategic importance of Shannon in the region, its role is delivering international connectivity for business and tourism and its role in balanced economic development.
“We also need to prioritise investment in transport links to Shannon Foynes Port by delivering the Limerick Foynes N69 upgrade and maintaining the ports Core Ten T status.”
Mr Johnson made the comments before presenting the Chamber business awards with the top honour – Business of the Year – going to Limerick company Roadbridge, which employs 1,000 people.
Other award winners were:
CloudCards (Start-up); ON Semiconductor (Innovation); Conack Construction (SME); Roadbridge (Large Business); Flannerys Bar (Family Business); Kirby Group (Contribution to Community); H &MV Eng (Business Service Provider); Tuscany Bistro (Retail/Food Service); Hunt Museum (Tourism); Limerick Suicide Watch (Community/Voluntary Sector); HOMS (Best Employer); Roadbridge (Overall winner); Michael Noonan (President’s Award).
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