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‘There is an uplift coming’

THROUGHOUT the recession all Clare County Council meetings heard stories about the complete absence of funds, but with the country coming out of Covid, things are very different.
At Tuesday’s Shannon Municipal District meeting, Director of Services Liam Conneally said that at the moment “a plethora of grants are being fired at us at the moment”.
He said that the “Government are trying to assist businesses, trying to assist community groups, trying to assist local authorities.”
One thing he said he was disappointed about was that other Municipal Districts were doing better at accessing supports than the Shannon area, but he said this could be addressed.
Mr Conneally said that there are some very good reasons to be positive about the economy at the moment.
“A lot of new job creation goes unannounced. Another 20 or 30 or 40 or 50 jobs that would be added to a company, they mightn’t want it announced but it is happening. There is an uplift coming, there is a positive outlook.”
He said that when Foreign Direct Investment is being sought in the future the potential investors will be looking at a number of different things, such as competitiveness and tax rate, while skills available will also be important.
“There is a look at the skills base, which we have in Clare and the Mid West region and how that is impacting on the IDA doing their work in attracting investment to the region.
“For the most part the feedback is very positive, they have a really solid base to work on.”
Meanwhile, the numbers receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment dropped by almost 300 in Clare over the last week, going from 9,218 to 8,924.
Across the country the numbers declined by almost 13,500, but with payments being made in arrears, the impact of the reopening of much of the economy was not reflected in them.
Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said “The slow and gradual reopening of the economy is once again reflected in this week’s Pandemic Unemployment Payment figures.
“As the PUP is paid weekly in arrears, the full impact of the reopening of sectors such as retail will not be evident for a number of weeks to come.
“However, all the indications are that people are returning to work in large numbers with almost 26,000 closing their PUP in the past week.
“I want to pay tribute to the thousands of employers across the country who have reopened their businesses this week, ensuring that their staff and customers can return in a safe manner.”
“I also want to draw particular attention to the fact that as people return to work, employers may be able to avail of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) to assist with payroll costs.
“This is an important support to help employers re-employ staff and restore salaries. It also acts as an effective bridge back to employment for people who were on PUP.
“As eligibility for the EWSS is based on employer turnover, most employers who have been closed due to the Pandemic will be eligible for the subsidy.”

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.