A DELEGATION of state legislators and industry leaders from California visited University of Limerick last week to hear about the region’s “exceptional” economic recovery.
Included among the California Legislative Irish Caucus, which heard that Limerick is an “easy place to do business”, were Senator Susan Rubio, Assemblyman Bill Brough and Tom Daly, former Mayor of Anaheim and current member of the California State Assembly.
The visit was coordinated by Department of Foreign Affairs, the IDA and the O’Neill Group and the delegation came to Limerick to hear about the region’s recent economic successes, particularly in the area of research and design.
Many of the group have a background in education so investment in the sector was of particular interest, as was UL’s close collaboration with industry and its actions as a knowledge broker within competitive industries.
UL deputy president Gerry O’Brien told the delegation in his address that “the pipeline of graduate talent emerging from this University and the strong focus placed on R&D at postgraduate level” aid the decisions made by FDI companies to locate international centres in Limerick.
“It showed the importance of investing in education and UL continues to act as a knowledge broker with competitive industries such as the pharmaceutical industry with SSPC (Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre), the major pharma companies in Ireland are all involved and the model of engagement is ground-breaking within that sector.
“All of this has aided in the recovery of Limerick and the region as big industries saw evidence of the early successes. Employment figures rose as the quality and caliber of jobs began attracting more people to the region. Domestic companies were thriving again – this was Limerick’s success story,” he added.
Minister of State and Limerick Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan said that the measures now in place to aid economic recovery will mean that fewer people will be forced to leave the country in search of work.
“We want to make sure that when people leave in the future, they leave because of choice rather than necessity,” he added.
Robert O’Driscoll, Consul General of Ireland to Western USA, said there was a “very strong relationship” between Limerick and California, noting that a Sister Cities Agreement was signed between Limerick City and County Council and Santa Clara City Council in San Jose in 2014.