L to R – Cllr. Tony Dempsey, Chairman, Local Community Development Committee (LCDC), Tom Enright, Chief Executive, Wexford County Council, Mr. Paul Kehoe, TD, Minister of State with Responsibility for Defence, Councillor Paddy Kavanagh, Cathaoirleach, Wexford County Council, Ger Mackey, Chief Officer, LCDC and Councillor Kathleen Codd-Nolan, Vice-Chairman, LCDC
Adamstown’s newly refurbished Coláiste Abbain secondary school provided a highly
appropriate venue for the launch on Wednesday last 18 January of the much anticipated Wexford Local Economic and Community Plan.
The ambitious 6-year Plan is the result of more than eighteen months work by the Wexford Local Community Development Committee (LCDC). Formed in 2015, the LCDC consists of 19 representatives from various agencies across County Wexford, including local authority members and officials, state agencies and people working in local development and community development, together with economic, cultural and environmental organisations.
The LCDC has primary responsibility for co-ordinating, planning and overseeing local and community development funding and will deliver on this primarily through the implementation of the community elements of the six-year Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP). Through implementation of the Plan, the LCDC seeks to ensure avoidance of duplication in all publicly funded local and community interventions by bringing about greater integration and coordination of publicly funded services and programmes.
The Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) comprises of two integrated elements – a local economic element (prepared by the local authority); and a community element (prepared by the LCDC). The Plan’s policies and objectives are consistent with the County Development Plan, the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies and policy initiatives under the Regional Action Plans for Jobs.
The Wexford Plan is framed around six High Level Goals. These goals were identified and developed using evidence gathered in 2015 when the Council commissioned NUI Maynooth to develop the Wexford Socio-Economic Baseline Report. The data contained in this report has had a huge influence on the development of the objectives and actions outlined within the LECP.
HLG1 – Foster the culture of educational attainment and lifelong learning in County Wexford and provide opportunities to develop educational and workforce skills, to improve work readiness and access to employment.
HLG2 – Support and promote the development of socially inclusive, sustainable communities in County Wexford and ensure that all citizens enjoy optimal health and wellbeing.
HLG3 – Continue to develop and promote County Wexford as a great place to live, work and visit.
HLG4 – Develop and market County Wexford as an outstanding business environment for starting, growing and attracting business
HLG5 – Continue to protect and enhance our infrastructure and promote resource efficiency in order to create the right conditions for long term sustainable economic growth.
HLG6 – Protect and sensitively utilise our natural, built and cultural heritage and together with the Arts, realise their economic potential.
The Wexford LECP highlights the need to ensure the economic development of the County. This aim is at the centre of all Wexford County Council policy and is a key priority for the Council.
The occasion of the launch at the newly opened refurbished school included several demonstrations of cutting-edge technology, including 3-D printing courtesy of Belfast FAB LAB, coding workshops and laser cutting equipment. These growing technologies have uses in manufacturing, life sciences, craft and design and agriculture and the well-attended demonstrations throughout the afternoon highlighted how the use of state-of-the-art technology can be used to create the highly skilled workforce that Wexford will require over the coming years, with the capacity to make Wexford a county of makers.
In launching the LECP, Deputy Paul Kehoe, TD, Minister of State with Responsibility for Defence said
“This Plan is Wexford’s way forward. It is a blueprint for the way in which we want our county to develop, socially, economically, physically and environmentally. It will ensure that the efforts of the many public agencies and non-state organizations who are working tirelessly towards the economic renewal of our county are coordinated and focused to achieve the maximum possible results for Wexford, while maintaining a high quality of life in Wexford’s vibrant, sustainable urban and rural communities. I also welcome the Plan’s strategic focus on educational attainment and lifelong learning, which will lead to the development of key workforce skills, so necessary to improve work readiness and create better access to employment”
Other speakers at the launch included Senan Lillis, Principal of Coláiste Abbain, Councillor Tony Dempsey, Chairman of Wexford Local Community Development Committee, Councillor Paddy Kavanagh, Chairman of Wexford County Council, and Mr Tom Enright, Chief Executive of Wexford County Council.