First for Ireland: Mayors meet to push priorities of Kilkenny and South East
A ‘first of its kind’ lobby group in Ireland which aims to promote the needs of Kilkenny and the South East has just been formed.
The South East First Citizens Accord, which is a collaboration of Mayors consisting of the Cathaoirleachs of Kilkenny, Waterford, Carlow, Wexford and Tipperary county councils, held its first ever ‘First Citizens Accord’ forum today.
The forum laid out what they see as the common priorities for the South East, addressing the structural challenges faced by the region and in particular its vulnerability to the impact of Covid-19, having had the highest regional unemployment rate coming into the crisis.
The First Citizens Accord discussed their vision with the regional TDs and Senators at their first-ever forum, which was held virtually.
The aim is to present a strong voice and togetherness, with all parties involved striving for the same objective when it comes to securing project support and funding for the region.
The seven priorities identified by the forum are:
- Technological University of South East – €250 million investment by 2025
- A €30m region-specific South East Innovation Fund
- Investment in South East Ports & more strategic collaboration between them
- 40 new IDA companies in South East and new IDA property in each county by 2024
- A specific Enterprise Ireland Regional Director for South East
- Accelerate upgrades of N24 and N80 road connection:
- Provision of a 24/7 Cardiac Care Centre for the South East
Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council, Cllr Andrew McGuinness, said: “I welcome the establishment of the First Citizens Forum.
“Collaboration by the counties in the South East Region is key to the delivery of key priorities for our Region, such as the Multi Campus TUSE, the upgrade of the N24 and 24/7 Cardiac Care.”
The five First Citizens in the region are Cllr Tom O’Neill, Carlow, Cllr Andrew McGuinness, Kilkenny, Cllr Michael Smith, Tipperary, Cllr Damien Geoghegan, Waterford (Chairperson), and Cllr Ger Carthy, Wexford.