Wexford Chamber has called on the incoming government to prioritise the following projects, for the benefit of our local economy:
Construction of new office buildings
The IDA has cited the lack of available property solutions in Wexford as being a prohibitive factor when attracting FDI companies to the town. Consequently, the new government should make provisions for the construction of new office buildings through the Action Plan for Jobs 2017.
Establishment of the Technological University of the South East
The availability of a highly educated and skilled workforce would significantly enhance the opportunity to attract new businesses to Wexford. The establishment of the Technological University of the South East will be critical to attain the required skills level and its development should be accelerated as a matter of urgency. Furthermore, the acquisition of a 35 acre site should facilitate the infrastructural development of the Wexford Campus, and it is crucial that this campus secures its own budget and operational autonomy to ensure that it solidifies our county’s key business strengths.
Development of Rosslare Europort
Rosslare Europort is one of Ireland’s key infrastructural assets. As a result, Wexford Chamber is calling on the Department of Transport to publish the market sounding report which was recently completed for Iarnród Éireann. If the findings determine that there is interest from private sector parties, that are willing to commit to the necessary investment in the port, the government should assist the facilitation of an appropriate concession arrangement. Otherwise, the government should demonstrate its commitment to the development of such an important gateway in the region, by making the necessary investment themselves.
Rail Line to Dublin
To ensure that Wexford develops as a commuter link to Dublin, the Government must invest in upgrading the rail line between Wexford and Dublin, to facilitate high speed trains at peak times.
Increase funding for SMEs
The Local Enterprise Office Network is currently underfunded, with many of the local enterprise offices having reached their annual budget allocation by quarter three of each year. Government needs to commit to increasing the funding allocations to Local Enterprise Office network by 50% to address the current deficits.
There is also a need to examine the eligibility criteria attached to SME grant aid. At present, many grants are confined to businesses with less than 10 employees, and/or are involved in internationally traded services. However, businesses with more than 10 employees, that are trading within the domestic market are often not eligible to apply for grant aid. Therefore, the provision of employment grants and supports through Enterprise Ireland for SMEs with over ten staff, and whose products and services are supplied to the domestic market, are required to grow the SME sector