‘Chronic underinvestment’ in Kilkenny and south-east threatens recovery: IBEC
Decades of chronic underinvestment in key infrastructure is threatening to undermine the prospects for economic recovery of Kilkenny and the south-east, the country’s largest employer’s group has warned.
Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC) is calling on the Government to deliver an ambitious programme of world class public services and infrastructure in Kilkenny and the wider region.
IBEC’s submission to the mid-term review of the National Development Plan has called for greater investment in areas such as housing, environment, health, childcare and commuting.
IBEC senior regional executive Helen Leahy said: “The south-east was already experiencing slower economic recovery than the national average before the pandemic took hold, hence addressing these long-standing regional inequalities is now more urgent than ever.
“The NDP must ensure that priorities in relation to connectivity, skills development and infrastructure provision in the south-east are realised. The south-east region sees 60% of its third level students leave the region to study in other regions.
“The creation of a Technological University is the first step in encouraging students to remain in the region. As the South-East is at a disadvantage through the lack of an internationally recognised University, the TU must redress that disadvantage through targeted and sufficient investment,” Ms Leahy added.
IBEC’s South-East Regional Executive Committee made several recommendations in its submission. These include:
- Accelerated rollout of the National Broadband Plan and the successful rollout of 5G;
- The upgrade of strategic road infrastructure projects, including the N24 Waterford to Limerick and N25 Rosslare to Cork;
- Increase investment in the Institute of Technology Carlow and the Waterford Institute of Technology to increase capacity and the ambition of the new Technological University;
- Increase investment in tourism infrastructure;
- Revitalise town centres to ensure their future viability;
- Future development and expansion of the region’s ports, including Belview in south Kilkenny (pictured).