December 4th, 2015 - Pat Breen

pat-breen-mfa-and-msClare T.D. and Chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade Pat Breen T.D. who attended the fourth Global Irish Economic Forum which took place in Dublin Castle on Friday & Saturday last, the 20 & 21st November 2015 availed of the opportunity to meet with key investors to push the case for investment in County Clare.

Deputy Breen also met with the IDA’s CEO Martin Shanahan to discuss the future of the Roche Plant in Clarecastle when he urged the State Agency to prioritise the search for an alternative investor.

Deputy Breen had been invited to attend the forum in his capacity as Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs & Trade.

The Forum brought together more than 300 leading Irish and Irish connected figures from across the globe to play their part in building on Ireland’s recovery. This year’s Forum focused on opportunities in the high-potential sectors including financial services, research and innovation and international education and on fostering entrepreneurship and supporting existing businesses to scale up, increase exports and creating jobs at home.

“I was delighted to attend the Global Irish Economic. This year the forum took place in a very different context as it was the first forum since we exited the bailout programme.

Our Economy has now recovered to the same size it was before the crash and is the fastest growing economy in Europe. Our international confidence has been restored, our unemployment rate is down to 9.3% from a peak of 15.1% in 2012 and 125,000 jobs have been created since the Action Plan for Jobs in 2012 . As a result of which, the focus on this occasion was very much on how we can build on this recovery.

Key to accelerating recovery in this Region is to build on our successes and target growth in our Aviation, Life sciences, Engineering, Tourism and Internationally Traded Services as well as increasing the number of startups and growing our agri-food Sector. During the course of the forum, I availed of the opportunity to meet with potential
investors to showcase the investment opportunities that exist here in County Clare.

Our ability to attract investment is significantly influenced by having a world class infrastructure in place. We have an International Airport at Shannon on our doorstep and a network of first class Third Level Institutions. We are also investing in improving our advance build infrastructure with a five year programme of investment underway by the Shannon Group in the Shannon Free Zone and planning permission granted for Phase 2 development at West Park, which when completed will serve as a catalyst to attract new business into this Region.

On the verges of the Forum, Deputy Breen also met with the CEO of the IDA Martin Shanahan to discuss the situation at the Roche facility in Clarecastle.

“Following the announcement from Roche that they are planning to exit their Clarecastle Plant, I was very anxious to meet with Martin Shanahan, CEO, IDA and impress upon him the importance of securing an alternative investor for this facility. During out Meeting, I highlighted the importance of Roche to the local economy and the attractiveness of the facility to a potential investor particularly given the availability of a highly skilled workforce. He has assured me that no stone is being left unturned in their efforts and they are committed to working with Roche to find a buyer for the plant. He is to keep me apprised of developments and we will be holding a further Meeting in the coming weeks in this regard.”

Contributors to this year’s forum included Comedian Dara O’Briain, Economist & Author David McWilliams, Joanne O’Riordan 2015 Outstanding Person of the World, Lauren Boyle, European Digital Person of the Year, Nora Casey, Broadcaster, Publisher Harmonia & Susan Davis, Chairman and Founder Susan Davis International.

Following the forum, a report will be prepared for Government which will then be followed up by the various Departments and a progress report on the proposals/recommendations published in due course.