New enterprise plan for Mid-West aims to create an ‘inclusive smart-city region’

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan said the plan "is focused on working toward our vision for the mid-west to be Ireland’s leading inclusive smart city region"

Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan said the plan "is focused on working toward our vision for the mid-west to be Ireland’s leading inclusive smart city region"

A NEW plan launched by Enterprise Minister Heather Humphreys aims to turn the Mid-West into Ireland’s top “smart city region”.

Government is putting more than €4m in place for the Mid-West Enterprise Plan, which was launched in Lisheen, Co Tipperary this Wednesday.

As well as turning the Mid-West into a “smart city region”, the strategy also has at its aim the achievement of a step change in progress toward a low-carbon economy in the region, continuing to develop the workforce skills and talent and enhance the attractiveness of living and working in the region.

The scheme also has at its heart, the idea of delivering a co-ordinated regional brand, something which was questioned by council official Maria Woods last week.​

On top of this, the strategy aims to continue to develop workforce skills and talents, enhance the attractiveness of living and working in the region and develop its capacity to deliver consistent growth.

No timeframe for delivery of these goals has been stated, however.

The development of the Mid-West plan, incorporating counties Tipperary, Clare and Limerick was overseen by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, working with stakeholders from the region, through a committee chaired by Barry O’Sullivan, who is the global manufacturing platform lead at Johnson & Johnson, which employs close on 1,000 people at Plassey.

Limerick TD and Minister of State for public procurement, open government and eGovernment, Patrick O’Donovan was present at the launch.

He said: “Our plan is focused on working toward our vision for the Mid-West to be Ireland’s leading inclusive smart city region, utilising our unique asset base, converting emerging opportunities to jobs and continually upskilling people.

“​Having seen the great progress already in this region under the Mid-West Regional Action Plan for Jobs 2015-2017 with more than 14,700 more people at work; I am confident that the Mid-West Regional Enterprise Plan will build on the excellent collaborative spirit in evidence in this region. I am delighted to see an emphasis in this new Mid-West Plan on the challenges and indeed opportunities for Ireland in all regions, through ongoing digitalisation and the transition to a low carbon economy. This new Plan will support resilience in businesses and in communities and will also ensure that there is a pipeline of new opportunities so that the Mid-West region can positively engage with changes that lie ahead.”

Mr O’Sullivan added: “We are delighted with the success of the Mid-West Action Plan for Jobs, with 18,800 more people in employment now compared to when the plan was launched. The Action Plan for Jobs has given us a framework for collaboration across public and private partners, which were leveraged to secure over €9.4m from the Regional Enterprise Development Fund to deliver five new innovative game changer projects across the region.”

The Mid-West Plan is one of nine such blueprints which has been launched by Ms Humphreys.