The preparation of a promotional plan for the Shannon Estuary and the development of renewable energy projects in the county underpin the new Economic Development Strategy for Clare.
Set against the economic challenges faced locally during the global recession, the council-driven strategy builds on the objectives and actions set out in the County Development Plan 2011-2017, County Clare Enterprise Strategy and Clare County Council Tourism Strategy.
Other actions featured in the council’s Economic Development Strategy 2011-2014 include the continued economic development of the county’s town and villages, the rollout of improved telecommunications and electricity infrastructure information to businesses and the promotion of the county as a film location.
The strategy also includes a commitment to increase third level provision in Clare, source high profile members of the Clare Diaspora to promote the interests of the county to a wider international audience, and pursue opportunities to exploit Clare’s natural resources for economic development though high level research activity and industry collaboration.
Clare County Council’s 32 elected members unanimously passed the new economic development strategy and action plan for County Clare at this week’s meeting.
Mayor of Clare, Councillor Pat Hayes noted that many of these actions set out in the strategy can be instigated by the council and then further developed in an inter-agency capacity.
He continued, “There are also several smaller scale actions aimed at improving how the council engages with business users and at enhancing our towns and villages to make them more attractive to investment and economic activity. The small-scale actions reflect necessary improvements identified by various Council directorates, area offices, elected members and the business community. They combine to create an environment conducive to enterprise activity and economic development in the county.”
Chair of the Community & Enterprise, Tourism and Emergency Services SPC, Councillor Richard Nagle said the local authority was emerging in Clare and nationally as a key driver in stimulating and enabling economic development.
“This role involves expansion of the council’s traditional functions in the provision and maintenance of infrastructure, planning and development, environmental functions, and the levying of rates and charges. This is evidenced by the local authorities in Clare, supported by their elected representatives, taking the lead in the development of initiatives such as the inter-agency Enterprise Partnership Forum, development of third-level links, and the development of key assets in the county and region including the Shannon Estuary, Shannon Airport and Renewable Energy,” he explained.
Other key strategies outlined in the Plan include the development and promotion of green energy/carbon neutral zone in county to attract international business, the development of an integrated network of user-friendly community/town websites and the production of ready-to-plot location maps of all fully serviced industrial sites.
The plan also advocates the pursuance, promotion and implementation of job placement programmes, increased promotion of the Shannon Gateway and Ennis Hub status and assets and resources through development of specific events and activities and work designed to increase economic activity and the international reputation of the county by developing and attracting world class events.
Greater business involvement will be sought in and the promotion of excellence awards while the plan will also encourage the use of leftover land in estates by communities for allotments and examine the potential of the creative industries sector in the county. Local economic activity through the provision of covered markets and trading opportunities will also be examined.
An annual energy week to highlight and showcase the opportunities for renewables and cleantech sector development in county will also be investigated.
The Clare County Council Economic Development Strategy 2011-2014 may be viewed on the council’s website, www.clarecoco.ie.