Carrick-on-Suir’s business, tourism, local authority and community leaders gathered at an economic conference to draw up a mission statement for the town’s development over the next 30 years.
The second Carrick-on-Suir Economic Forum took place in The Carraig Hotel with the goal of developing a strategy to help drive the economic development of the town with a particular focus on how the town would look in 2040. The mission of the Forum’s delegates was to make Carrick-on-Suir a more attractive town to visit, to live in and for work and shopping; a place where new and existing entrepreneurs are encouraged and supported; where tourism is significantly increased and where training and employment opportunities are actively generated.
The Forum that took place on Friday, May 31 was formally opened by Niall Walsh, Chairman of Friends of Carrick-on-Suir, who welcomed the invited attendance and introduced the various speakers.
In his address, Mayor of Carrick-on-Suir Cllr Liam Walsh said events like the Economic Forum do not just happen. They require a huge amount of work and effort.
He thanked Chairman Tony Musiol and the members of Carrick on Suir Tourism and Economic Development Committee for the effort and commitment they put into arranging the Economic Conference.
The Mayor added that he looked forward to seeing the positive outcomes that would arise from the conference.
Tony Musiol, Chairman of Carrick-on-Suir Tourism and Economic Development Committee, hoped some good ideas about the future of Carrick-on-Suir would emerge from the Forum’s four workshops covering the subjects of retail, tourism, food and “Thinking outside the box”.
Clonea-Power born economist Jim Power of Jim Power Economics told the Forum that the recession and banking crisis were causing major problems for many businesses and he believed the Government should take its foot off the austerity brake.
He said towns like Carrick-on-Suir were heavily dependent on the domestic economy and SME sector, and he highlighted the importance of the town’s image and branding.
Mr Power suggested that Carrick-on-Suir needs to diversify its retail offerings and develop areas like cycling, walking and cultural events
James O’Doherty, a member of Westport Chamber of Commerce, said Westport was similar to Carrick on Suir some years ago but hard work and cooperation between businesses brought the town to what it is today.
It now has ten hotels with six having swimming pools. He said before selecting a town, industrialists look for clean water, an attractive quality of life and a land bank.
His advice included engaging with politicians and State agencies, long term commitment and advertising your town on the National Road Plan.
The four workshops took place after lunch after which reports were given to the conference.
At the Forum’s conclusions, Tony Musiol thanked all involved in organising the event as well as sponsors and The Carraig Hotel. He promised all aspects of the Forum would be followed up on and a report on the proceedings would be made available.