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April 27, 2012

Taoiseach- "Put on the County Jersey for Jobs"


The Taoiseach, Mr. Enda Kenny T.D. was formally presented with North Kildare Chamber’s Strategic Plan 2012-2015 at a reception at Punchestown Racecourse in Naas yesterday (Thursday 26th April).  The event was hosted by the President of North Kildare Chamber, Ms. Eilis Quinlan and was attended by over 200 guests representing business, tourism, education and the arts in County Kildare.

Bernard Jackman, Eilis Quinlan, an Taoiseach, Eddie Hobbs at the launch The Taoiseach was also presented with a white ‘Kildare’ and ‘North Kildare Chamber’ emblazoned jersey which represented the chamber’s vision that everyone needs to ‘put on the county jersey’ for their own local economy.   The Taoiseach couldn’t be persuaded to don the ‘Lily White’ garment but instead, holding the jersey aloft he cheerfully quipped, “They are not the Mayo colours!” before congratulating the chamber on such an ambitious and clear strategy.  He said that the plan clearly identifies key areas including marketing, tourism and promotion, business and IT, lifestyle and culture, optimizing distinctive capabilities, services to business and education and research and encouraged all in attendance to embrace the strategy and work together to protect jobs and support local businesses. He went on to say that this plan will need the support and commitment of everyone in Kildare and encouraged the crowd to ‘put on their own county jersey’ to make the North Kildare Chamber vision a reality. 

The chamber’s plan is a culmination of months of work and collaboration between a wide range of organisations including governmental agencies and public bodies and representatives of the wider business community and the private sector. It is now the very first non governmental led county strategic plan to combine submissions and objectives of all of the major local agencies and county stakeholders into one strategic document.
Councillors and TDs at the launch The mix of guests represented every stratum of the county including the equine industry, business, education, tourism and the arts.  Well known faces at the launch included media personality Eddie Hobbs who acted as Master of Ceremonies, rugby star, Bernard Jackman, former Ms. Ireland, Ros Purcell, TV3’s, Sinead Desmond and trainer, Jim Bolger. Business people in attendance included Gerry O’Hagan of Bord na Mona, Paula Murray NUIM, Eileen O’Riordain from Pfizer, Maria McGovern of Kildare Village, John Osborne CEO of The Irish National Stud and Michael Davern, of The K Club.  

The aim of the plan was to deliver a small number of clear and measureable projects and it is complete with a schedule and time table where the chamber has clearly outlined when various objectives need to be achieved and various projects completed. The six key areas which the Taoiseach outlined his speech will be coordinated by various steering groups and these groups will then be headed up by an industry expert to ensure the timely delivery of each of the objectives outlined. Ultimately, the chamber hopes this plan will build on the strengths and opportunities they have identified in the county in order to build a better future for everyone who lives and works in Kildare.

One of the initiatives being addressed is the development of a comprehensive Kildare web-portal to become a single resource for businesses, communities and individuals who are interested in leveraging the resources that are already available in the county. This project has already commenced in conjunction with Kildare County Council and the Kildare Leader Partnership.   The chamber has also begun working with local authorities in leading the development of Public Wi-Fi solutions in urban areas and is currently developing a number of incubations hubs for new businesses alongside various government agencies.

Speaking at the launch of the plan, Eilis Quinlan, President of North Kildare Chamber said the plan represented all of the business interests in the county including multinationals, SME’s and sole traders while acknowledging the support and involvement of larger organisations including Bord na Mona, Pfizer and others. She went on to say, “ A challenge for Kildare, and indeed Ireland, is that we have a myriad of organisations, often doing outstanding work, but on occasion diluting their effectiveness and impact and hence the wastage of resources. “All of our projects have a single common characteristic- collaboration”.  She particularly noted the importance of supporting the SME sector and said, “We recognise that the SME sector of our community is a vital one. This sector is the backbone of every community, and it is also the biggest job creating sector. Historically SME’s have led the way out of previous recessions, and with a little well placed help, they can do it again!”

Allan Shine, Director of Membership Services at North Kildare Chamber commented, “We are delighted to have launched this plan, we have set out clear objectives and have no doubt we will achieve them over the next three years.  North Kildare Chamber is one of the fastest growing chambers in the country and we are looking forward to working with all of the stakeholders in the county to help grow and support businesses.”