Could there be an election in the air?
Well, if the last few days at Ludgate in Skibbereen were any indication, one would be inclined to think there is.
The launch of the South-West Regional Enterprise Plan 2020 at the Ludgate hub in Skibbereen was an occasion that attracted three government ministers.
Last Friday Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys was joined by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed and local junior minister Jim Daly, as well as invited representatives from local government, business and education organisations across south west Cork and Kerry, at the Ludgate hub.
While on Monday morning, Tánaiste Simon Coveney paid a visit to the same digital hub.
On Friday, Minister Humphreys outlined how the latest enterprise plan aims to build on the success of the South-West Regional Action Plan for Jobs (2015–2017), to ensure that it remains effective and that it continues to deliver jobs across the region, and can address any future challenges, including Brexit.
She said it was all about collaboration and stakeholders coming together, ‘whether it be the local authority, Enterprise Ireland, the IDA and most importantly local business.’
Minister Humphreys said that the 2020 Enterprise Plan aims to identify, not only the strengths, but also the weaknesses that can be tackled to ensure that future business and employment opportunities in the south west are successful.
‘There are six major objectives within the enterprise plan,’ Minister Humphreys said. ‘We want to build the capability of the region’s enterprise base, pooling enterprise in the region, so they can learn from each other, developing the region’s enterprise hubs, and of course you have the country’s best enterprise hub here at the Ludgate.’
The minister said the plan was also about knowledge sharing, sharing good practices and about focusing on clustering to drive enterprise performance and resilience.
Speaking with The Southern Star following the launch of the plan, Minister Humphreys acknowledged the benefits of access to high-speed broadband, which are vital for businesses in the region.
‘The procurement process for the delivery of high-speed broadband has been completed now and Minister Bruton will shortly be bringing his proposals to government,’ she said. ‘Minister Creed, Minister Daly and myself are absolutely committed to ensuring that every premises in Ireland has access to high-speed broadband. There is a cost involved and we are going to have to examine it, but nevertheless it is a priority of this government to bring high-speed broadband to every premises in Ireland.’