General Election 2016 – Our Vision for 2021 campaign summary

Feb 25, 2016

Since the launch of our campaign on February 1st 2016, the Irish Chamber Network has been strongly pushing the issues and messages from our manifesto, A Vision for 2021. Long term strategic planning, investing in infrastructure, maintaining a broad tax base, investing in childcare and housing and better support for Irish SMEs were all key demands from the Chamber Network.

The Chamber Network comprises of 46 affiliated Chambers from all regions of Ireland. The Network manifesto reflects the overarching priorities of the business community across Ireland and the direction we would like the next Government to take on key policy areas that affect economic growth and competitiveness. As priorities can vary from region to region, some Chambers developed individual manifestos reflecting the priorities for their local region. You can click on the links to read the priorities for CorkDublin, LimerickGalway.

Strategic economic planning that focuses on the development of our capacity to grow was one of the central messages our Chamber Network has advocated throughout this General Election campaign. Each Chamber has its own infrastructure priorities that they would like to see prioritised for the development of that particular region. Transport links, roads and regional airports are considered strategically important for the development of many regions and to enable growth. Many of the Chambers across the Network recognise that such infrastructure and development needs to be planned under the remit of a new National Planning Framework.

A Vision for 2021, strongly calls for greater levels of state investment in capital infrastructure, but recognises that finance and investment is not enough to ensure the timely delivery and achievement of maximum benefit of infrastructure projects. The next Government must publish the National Planning Framework with clear commitment to have the Framework in place by the end of 2016. The Chamber Network would really like to see a National Planning Framework that works for the economic development of all our regions and Ireland as a whole.

When speaking to Chambers from across Ireland there was one issue that stood out as being vitally important to the business community outside of our main urban areas; investment in high speed broadband infrastructure. For Sligo Chamber, high speed broadband for the entire County was flagged as important for competitiveness. The issue in Letterkenny is that broadband outside of the urban area is completely inadequate and workers from rural areas cannot have the flexibility of working from home. Carlow Chamber feels that when it comes to broadband rural needs must be taken into account along with urban requirements. Kieran Ruttledge, CEO of Tralee Chamber echoed this sentiment by saying that, “High speed broadband for all of Tralee and not confined to specific areas is essential for business.”

A Vision for 2021, calls for the roll out of the National Broadband Plan with accelerated investment required across the country to reduce the digital divide that currently exists between urban and rural areas and to enable SMEs to compete on a level playing field.

Many other key priorities for the Chamber Network were highlighted in recent weeks. An overview is available here. We will continue to raise these issues with the next Government and ensure that the voice of the business community and Chamber members is heard.

It is hoped that General Election 2016 will produce a stable Government that can focus on implementing the needs of the Irish business community and the key priorities identified by the Irish Chamber Network. Much of the commentary during the campaign has focused on personal taxes and consumption charges, the Irish Chamber Network would like if the next Government pays attention to what is necessary to create jobs in our economic and maintain our competitiveness

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