Guest Feature

Guest Article: Proper planning and investment can see Western Ireland counterbalance Dublin

By Business & Finance
10 May 2019

Making a case for businesses locating in the West of Ireland

Dublin continues to account for a disproportionate amount of Ireland’s economic and business activity, and there is a clear need for greater investment in rural Ireland to act as a counterbalance. In particular, Galway and the wider Connacht region have significant potential to develop rapidly in the coming years.

Sligo has also seen a lot of investment in recent times. Initiatives such as The Landing Space, The Building Block and IT Sligo’s incubation unit provide excellent facilities for both FDI and indigenous businesses that want to establish in Sligo.

Investing in the West

The success of the West of Ireland has been based on a range of factors from excellent third level education at NUI Galway, IT Sligo and the GMIT and to the work of the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise offices in supporting existing businesses and attracting new ventures to the region. This is evidenced by the significant clustering of the Medtech and ICT sectors in Galway and by the presence of other significant employers in the healthcare, marine, arts and tourism sectors. Organisations like Guaranteed Irish also play a key role in supporting businesses across the region.

Recent FDI investment announcements from Rent the Runway, MathWorks and GW Plastics demonstrate that the West is an attractive location for businesses looking for highly skilled employees to locate.

However, while FDI is very important to the West, the bedrock of activity remains the indigenous sector, including numerous family owned businesses, many of whom now have operations throughout Europe and further afield. These include JFC in Tuam, McHale Engineering in Ballinrobe and Portwest in Westport. All three are great examples of how the indigenous family business sector is so important to creating employment and opportunities throughout the region and how West of Ireland businesses can become global players.

Decentralising the country

The success of the West of Ireland is important, not just for people living in the West, but for the country as a whole. With proper planning and support, we can act as a counterbalance to the concentration of economic activity in Dublin. As the region improves its infrastructure, including broadband, further activity and opportunities will develop.

The business community constantly sells the virtues of the West of Ireland at every opportunity: our people and their education and skills; our entrepreneurial drive; the support we offer those businesses who chose the West of Ireland as their European Gateway, and the incredible quality of life available here on Europe’s West Coast. The region is dynamic and a great place to live and work.

Laurence May is Head of KPMG in Galway.