Council CEO declares “Let’s work together”

Working together and building a brighter future for Waterford and the South East was the key message delivered at the Waterford Chamber Annual Dinner in the Tower Hotel on Friday night last.
The annual black tie event played host to over 250 business people from across the city and county.
Keynote speaker, City & County Council Chief Executive Michael Walsh, manager spoke very emotionally and passionately about his dreams for Waterford. He was near tearful at the end and received a standing ovation from the audience, who appeared to like his emotional delivery.

During his speech, he stated that he might have to consider staying on for another six and half years to see through the various projects that lie ahead, including the North Quay development.
During his well-received and passionately delivered speech, he also predicted that Waterford Airport shall see routes returning, bringing in 400,000 to 500,000 annual passengers: this newspaper understands that a carrier may well in place come the New Year.

Pictured attending at the 2017 Waterford Chamber Annual Dinner were, from left: Maria Clifford (Liberty Blue Estate Agents), City & County Manager, Michael Walsh, Regina Mangan (Liberty Blue), Chamber President Paul Nolan and Nora Fleming and Catherina Dempsey (Liberty Blue).				| Photos: www.gerryocarroll.com

Pictured attending at the 2017 Waterford Chamber Annual Dinner were, from left: Maria Clifford (Liberty Blue Estate Agents), City & County Manager, Michael Walsh, Regina Mangan (Liberty Blue), Chamber President Paul Nolan and Nora Fleming and Catherina Dempsey (Liberty Blue). | Photos: www.gerryocarroll.com


For Waterford to grow it will need to attract talent and he referred to the success of the Crystal Valley Tech Showcase at the WIT Area on Thursday last, which saw 1500 students attending among an overall visitor figure of 3,000. He praised the Crystal Valley Tech co-ordinators, who attracted some 60 IT and Tech companies to show off their wares.
Mr Walsh also referred to the West Pharma investment and appealed to the business community to collaborate and work with the City & County Council on a range of fronts, including the North Quays.
Many enterprises, both foreign direct and indigenous, are reflecting a new energy and for the first time the dividend to be gained from the major infrastructure investments of the Celtic Tiger are manifesting themselves.
He said: “The challenge for all of us now is to seize the opportunity presenting itself to drive the city forward, in the spirit of its Viking founding fathers, to be one of the locations of choice in this country in which to live, visit or do business. We are blessed to inhabit a beautiful corner of the world with the amenities of the Comeraghs and the coast on our door step and combining this with economic vibrancy will make Waterford a European ‘Micro-City’ with few peers.”

As guests toasted to the future of Waterford, the air of excitement in the room was palpable and the message clearly delivered. In Michael Walsh’s words
“We have a collective vested interest to tell the story of Waterford. We are the people who control the action so let’s tell the story.”
As we reported in last week’s edition, shopper and tourist footfall has been projected to expand in Waterford, with 15 per cent jobs growth predicted annually.

Eileen and Cllr Pat Nugent, Mayor of Waterford City & County, pictured at last Friday's Chamber Dinner at the Tower Hotel.

Eileen and Cllr Pat Nugent, Mayor of Waterford City & County, pictured at last Friday's Chamber Dinner at the Tower Hotel.


The North Quay works, Mr Walsh predicted, will act as a catalyst and an economic driver for the city and region. The Cultural Quarter development at O’Connell Street will also provide additional city centre impetus.
The city is in transition, he added. There are 3000 jobs in pharma and med tech and thousands more in tourism, representing a fundamental shift from Waterford’s traditional manufacturing base.
Getting the brand right is key, said Mr Walsh, in how Waterford projects itself going forward.
Prior to the fine dinner at the Tower Hotel a drinks reception was hosted by McDonald Dwyer Reddy & Byrne Insurances Ltd, City & County Mayor Pat Nugent said we are living in exciting times and are on the cusp of many exciting developments for the city.
“The SDZ designation of the city’s North Quays is one of the most significant developments for Waterford and indeed the South East region,” he said. “Waterford is ready for significant retail developments and the opportunities that will follow.”

Waterford Chamber President Paul Nolan began his address by saying Waterford Chamber is working hard for the business community in Waterford and appealed for the next generation of business leaders to come forward and consider joining the Board of Management.
Speaking on the National Planning Framework (NPF), he said: “We need an urban centre to drive the region and Waterford has been designated such. We now have a tremendous opportunity to spell out what we need, which is easy – we just need half a chance to succeed. We have the can do and will do attitude.
“We see University status as a key that will unlock the potential in this area. The USP for Waterford is we are diverse, in terms of tech, pharma, life sciences and more. We are the bread basket of Ireland, with family farms and bountiful produce. We have all the ingredients to make the cake, we just need a little help to bake it. The opportunities are now there. Can we really afford not to grab them?”

Sponsor Regina Mangan of Liberty Blue Estate Agents spoke of her involvement in the Waterford Chamber Regional Leaders Programme, saying that working collectively and learning from each other would make Waterford and the South East a stronger place to do business and grow.
Waterford Chamber’s Lynda Lawton was praised for her work over past three years by Paul Nolan and best wishes were extended to new Winterval CEO Nick Donnelly ahead of the launch of this year’s festival later this week.

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