Eco­nomic meet­ing just full of ‘phaff’

SE­CUR­ING FU­TURE MEM­BERS ARE LEFT DIS­AP­POINTED

Bray People - - News -

A SPE­CIAL MEET­ING on the eco­nomic fu­ture of County Wick­low dis­ap­pointed mem­bers of Wick­low County Coun­cil on Mon­day when they felt the ses­sion was full of ‘phaff ’.

The meet­ing in­cluded pre­sen­ta­tions from Fas, En­ter­prise Ire­land, Wick­low County En­ter­prise Ire­land and the IDA.

Di­rec­tor of Ser­vice Thomas Mur­phy said that an en­ter­prise unit had been es­tab­lished some two-and-a-half years ago to proac­tively pro­mote Wick­low as a de­sir­able lo­ca­tion to do busi­ness.

He said that de­vel­op­ing an en­ter­prise cen­tre for Bray and Grey­stones were also para­mount as was de­vel­op­ing Wick­low County Cam­pus, Cler­mont Col­lege.

Fol­low­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion Cllr. Ge­orge Jones said it was im­pres­sive but said that there had been ‘a ter­ri­ble lot of phaff in some of the pre­sen­ta­tions’.

He said it didn’t con­trib­ute a whole lot to the dis­cus­sion and said the main fo­cus now was to plan for the fu­ture rather than looking to the past.

‘We need to plan and be ready for what’s go­ing for­ward’, he said and wel­comed the ma­jor de­vel­op­ments which were cur­rently be­fore Wick­low County Coun­cil for con­sid­er­a­tion in­clud­ing the new Span­ish school for Grey­stones.

He con­demned An Bord Pleanala not only for their re­fusal of full plan­ning per­mis­sion for the de­vel­op­ment of the Charles­land site but for ‘sit­ting on the ap­pli­ca­tion for 19 months’.

Cllr. Thomas Cullen said the whole em­ploy­ment land­scape of Wick­low had changed dra­mati- cally since the 1980s say­ing that agri­cul­ture and forestry were once the main­stay of the county’s em­ploy­ment but this had re­duced con­sid­er­ably.

He sug­gested, al­beit amid snig­gers, to give fledg­ing busi­nesses five years free of wa­ter charges. ‘All in­dus­try needs wa­ter and we have lots of wa­ter. We are miles ahead of any county in this re­spect. We should of­fer free wa­ter for the first five years to start up busi­nesses. Wa­ter is a very sig­nif­i­cant cost to busi­nesses’, he said.

In an­other rad­i­cal move he also sug­gested es­tab­lish­ing a light rail­way to Bless­ing­ton. ‘Peo­ple can snig­ger and laugh but it’s time we do some­thing.’

Cllr. Nicky Kelly said there was a ‘cer­tain amount of hypocrisy’ about the meet­ing ‘given the man­age­ment and some coun­cil­lors had put 70 peo­ple in Ab­wood out of work. There prob­a­bly won’t be 70 jobs cre­ated in the county this year from all th­ese agen­cies’, he raged.

Cllr. Tom For­tune who had called for the meet­ing in the first place said that while there had been mer­its to the meet­ing it had not turned out like he en­vis­aged.

Coun­cil­lor Ge­orge Jones.

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