Tánaiste Simon Coveney was guest speaker at last night’s annual Waterford Chamber of Commerce dinner at the Tower Hotel.
In his address, he discussed the Government’s National Development plan, focusing on Waterford’s North Quays as well as the governmental response to Brexit.
He said “Project Ireland 2040 recognises that Waterford is the principal urban centre in the South East and is unique in having a network of large and strong regional urban centres in close proximity within each of the surrounding counties. From a national perspective, a stronger Waterford City will lead the development of the wider South East.
“The key challenge for Waterford is to build scale and enhance urban quality through employment led growth.”
Addressing Brexit, the Minister said “it is the biggest danger facing our country and society and it is not of our making”.
“EU Chief negotiator Michel Barnier fully understands our unique concerns and supports our key priorities, particularly those around the importance of protecting the Good Friday Agreement. Mr. Barnier has our complete confidence in his ongoing negotiations on the EU’s behalf.
Speaking to WLR’s Liz Reddy at last night’s event, he said that he believed there was a renewed sense of optimism in Waterford.
“Seven years, if I was here, I would have been talking about unemployment levels at 18% in Waterford City, today they’re at just over 7% and falling,” he said. “We’ve seen over and over again examples of companies wanting to come to Waterford in recent years, employing more people, this is a City that’s on the move.”
“Waterford has a plan to move forward, which is consistent with the national plan, which is to invest in our cities outside of Dublin, which is to re-balance away from Dublin.”