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Pat Dowling, CEO Clare County Council.

Dowling critical of Government’s NPF plan

THE chief executive of Clare County Council has said that the Government’s National Planning Framework (NPF) will “undermine” potential investment options in Clare and the Mid-West.

Pat Dowling, who is also the chair of the Mid-West Chief Executive’s Group, said the region’s three local authorities will soon make a joint submission to Government stressing the need for the NPF to correct economic imbalances across the island.

Among the targets outlined by the group, which includes representatives of Clare County Council, LIT, UL, IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Shannon Group and private enterprise, is the expansion of the Clare campus of UL, the development of a conference centre within the county, securing Shannon Airport as the designated airport for the Wild Atlantic Way and promoting indigenous industry in rural areas.

Speaking on behalf of members, Mr Dowling expressed concern that the draft NPF “does little to redress the existing economic imbalance across the country and, in its current form, will undermine future investment in Clare and the wider region”.

He maintained that the group is conscious of the important role that Clare has to play in the future development of the wider region and of the country.

“This strategy must ensure that Ennis and Shannon continue to develop their drive for economic growth in Clare and the region, facilitate the diversification of the county’s rural economy and encourage micro-enterprise activity and ensure the benefits of economic growth and prosperity are spread to all parts of the county considering projected increases in our population. Through its implementation of the strategy, the Clare Economic Advisory Group will also support the marketing of Clare as an economic destination to communicate compelling messages to attract jobs and future investment.

“The recently launched Clare Rural Development Strategy underlines the positive impact of agencies and communities working together and it is important that this model of partnership is instilled in our efforts to develop and implement an economic strategy for County Clare.”


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