Economist Jim Power and Irish Times Editor Geraldine Kennedy will be the special guest speakers at an economic forum on Carrick-on-Suir that will take place at Ormond Castle in May.
The conference on Friday, May 13 is being organised by the Carrick-on-Suir Tourism and Economic Development Committee.
It aims to bring together local business and community leaders to come up with ideas on how to boost the town’s depressed economy.
Carrick-on-Suir born Irish Times Editor Geraldine Kennedy and economist Jim Power from Clonea are the two high profile figures with strong connections to the Carrick-on-Suir area that the Tourism and Economic Development Committee have secured for the event, which will run from 10am to 4pm on the day.
Details of the economic forum were revealed at Carrick-on-Suir Town Council’s March meeting during a debate on a motion tabled by Independent Cllr Pierce O’Loughlin calling for the setting up of a Carrick-on-Suir People Forum comprising local business and development organisations as well as schools, community groups and sports club.
Cllr O’Loughlin said the purpose of the People Forum would be to develop and initiate employment and development in Carrick-on-Suir. It would be chaired by the mayor of the town.
He argued that the people of Carrick-on-Suir needed to take action themselves to develop jobs for the town as no one was going to come to the town and give them anything. “This forum will give us room to discuss and think. We have to start somewhere and I propose we set up this group and see what will happen from that,” he said.
He clarified that he didn’t propose that the Carrick People Forum would impinge on any other group in the town. He just wanted all groups to come together to come up with some ideas and target some particular aspect of development such as green energy and look for projects to come and create jobs in the town.
Cllr O’Loughlin’s proposal was supported by Cllr Kieran Bourke (FF) and Cllr Margaret Croke (FG) while the Town Manager Pat Slattery said it was a very good idea.
But Cllr Patsy Fitzgerald, a member of the Carrick-on-Suir Tourism and Economic Development Committee, suggested that the Council should wait until after the Economic Forum and see what kind of report comes from it.
He explained that the Economic Forum would break up into workshops and it was hoped that ideas would emerge from it and that even one of these ideas would be suitable to run with.
Cllr Fitzgerald also pointed out that there had previously been a Jobs Taskforce in the town and there was the Carrick-on-Suir Tourism and Economic Development Committee, which was trying to do something similar to what Cllr O’Loughlin was proposing.
Cllr Sylvia Cooney-Sheehan voiced the same view as Cllr Fitzgerald. While she supported Cllr O’Loughlin’s proposal in principle, she pointed out that there were several other bodies addressing the same issues in the town.
“We have had so many talking shops,” she said.