Congratulations to the organisers of last Friday’s excellent Midlands Gateway Conference (Westmeath Co. Council). In his insightful address, Sean Dorgan CEO of the IDA made it abundantly clear to delegates that the Gateway approach is effectively the only show in town for the Midlands counties Offaly, Westmeath, Longford and Laois. There simply is no plan B and business leaders would do well to put their misgivings behind them and work together on a regional basis. Without this co-operation they will fail to capitalise on the critical mass of population as set out in the provisions of the National Spatial Strategy and they will risk being left behind altogether by the more established hubs. And he certainly wasn’t mincing his words.
He also explained that Ireland is no longer the only country offering many of the attractions which foreign investors look for. As a region the Midlands has to compete globally for inward investment with other hubs as far away and diverse as Singapore and Sydney. The presence of AIT in the region remains a critical point for most companies who decide to locate here.