Local Optimism and Global Worries

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As a busy 2018 draws to a close and with a New Year just around the corner, we must admit to mixed feelings: after all, a year without an extended run in the Hurling Championship does feel a little emptier. Limerick scratched a 45-year itch last summer, and one wonders if Waterford will mark the diamond jubilee of our 1959 All-Ireland title success by picking up the MacCarthy Cup? As always, we can but hope!On an economic front, while taking the closure of Allsop and the loss of 18 jobs into account, there have been signs of life in Waterford,though not at the accelerated rate we would have hoped for 12 months ago.

The North Quays project has taken some welcome steps in the right direction, and while we would like to have seen more than the€6 million commitment made by the Government through the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF), the likelihood that such monies will create a ‘bridge to nowhere’ are decidedly shallow.Sometimes, it helps to take a few steps back, remove emotion from the debate and recognise that these monies are actually significant cant and, come February, will hopefully be topped up with further funding.Among the other projects that need to be delivered in Waterford are the Technological University(with enhanced funding and adequate borrowing power), the effective re-opening of Waterford Airport to commercial services and an enhancement of the Waterford from the city entry point at Bilberry.

The TU’s delivery must place the needs of students at the top of its list of priorities: considerations about promotional prospects, who heads what department and what goes where in terms of the regional campus carve-up must remain firmly secondary.The North Quays strikes us a suitable location for a potential TU Headquarters, in addition to a tech hub, financial services and a Government department, would make for welcome and logical additions to the Falcon Real Estate project on the Suir’s north bank.The case for further decentralisation into the regions, from this vantage point, is clear. State paid office/administration jobs being relocated from a congested and overheating Dublin into Waterford and elsewhere would also lead to the necessary development of new housing projects, and generate an increased local consumer spend.

Looking further afield, Brexit withholds the potential for untold danger. The ‘no’ delivered to Brexit by voters in Northern Ireland and Scotland appears to have been utterly ignored by a floundering London government.A second referendum on the matter appears completely fair and logical but common sense appears to have flown out the window, while the Tory civil war continues.The US Government shutdown(still in place at the time of writing)and the departure of some of the so-called ‘adults in the room’ from the Trump administration is a major concern, so too the economic tensions between the United States and its traditional allies, let alone Washington’s ongoing problems with China and Russia.An improving local picture
remains firmly set against the backdrop of international uncertainty posed by both Brexit and the whims of the President of the United States. As has traditionally been the case with this newspaper,we remain hopeful of the best possible outcome on all fronts.

We would like to wish our readers and advertisers a happy and prosperous New Year.

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