Tuesday, 2 November 2021
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
I thank the Deputy for the question. Regional enterprise development and sustainable local job creation is a key policy priority of the Department and the Government. The Department is overseeing the development of nine new regional enterprise plans to 2024, including for the west region covering the county the Deputy represents. These are bottom-up plans developed by regional stakeholders working together to identify growth opportunities, recognise vulnerabilities and address ecosystem gaps to enable sustainable job creation in businesses throughout the regions through collaborative regional actions. The new west regional enterprise plan to 2024, which covers Galway, Mayo and Roscommon, will complement and build on the core activities of IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and local employment offices. There will also be greater involvement of local authorities as well as educational stakeholders and institutions. It will involve the wider range of State bodies involved in enterprise development in the region, with a focus on creating sustainable employment opportunities.
The Minister of State, Deputy Robert Troy, is driving the delivery of the new plan in the west and he has been engaging directly with the west regional steering committee. This is made up of regional stakeholders, including representatives of IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, local employment offices, local authorities, regional skills fora, the Western Development Commission and others. The group is chaired by Evelyn O'Toole, founder and CEO of Complete Laboratory Solutions.
The regional stakeholders in the west region are finalising their work and expect to sign off the draft plan in early November all going well. Once this is done it is intended to publish and launch the west regional enterprise plan along with all of the other new plans before the end of the year. To assist the regional enterprise plans, the Department, through Enterprise Ireland, has made available to date more than €126 million in regional enterprise funding to aid locally led regional enterprise development projects. Of this, more than €18.8 million has been approved for nine regional enterprise projects for the west under the regional enterprise development fund and, more recently, the regional enterprise transition scheme. We discussed this in a previous parliamentary question submitted by the Deputy. I know she is a believer in the strategies.
I am pleased to see positive news on the jobs front for the west with announcements this year, even though it has been a difficult year, by IDA Ireland of more than 400 jobs in Galway and 30 jobs in Ballina.