Minister for Employment and Small Business Pat Breen said that Ennis is capable of becoming one of Ireland’s leading food market towns, drawing on the large range and high quality food available in the county.
The minister praised the work of LEO in Clare and the local Small to Medium sized Artisan Food Producers who made Bia Fest a huge success last weekend, and believes this is just the beginning. Minister Breen is in favour of a similar market taking place on a regular basis.
“Ennis has a long tradition as a market town, and while we moved into a new era of trade and commerce this week as our county town was named Ireland’s latest Gigabit town, it is important that we also remain true to our tradition and heritage,” said Minister Breen.
“Markets are the heart of large towns, encouraging retail back into the town centre and providing a platform for many Artisan Food Producers to showcase their work. A regular market like Bia Fest would encourage more visitors to the town and would also benefit other markets and retailers.
“Small business like these food businesses are essential especially for our rural economy, and the Government recognise their important by supporting them through LEO,” added the minister of state.
“LEO in Clare has directly supported 56 food companies, 23 through direct grant aid with a further 32 participating in “Food Start” programme. At the end of the “Food Start” programme participants get to “pitch” their product to Supervalu.”
“In addition to the direct support, LEO also support all types of food producers, retailers and hospitality sector through accredited training courses around food safety and good food practices. In 2016, Clare LEO ran 15 of these training events with an average attendance of 12-14 people,” said Minister Breen.
“As Minister for Employment and Small Business I am delighted to continue supporting the Local Enterprise Offices with increased funding in this year’s budget and any support my department can offer.”