Waterford Chamber met with Sean Kelly MEP and a delegation of policy makers from the European Parliament’s Committee on Regional Development last week.
The main purpose of the delegation’s visit to Waterford was to gather first-hand information on the implementation of the EU’s Structural Funds in Waterford and the South East. In addition, there was also a particular interest in growth and jobs-oriented investment in SMEs and innovation through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF).
Commenting on the visit, Sean Kelly said: “Firstly I am very proud that the delegation from the Regional Committee has made this visit to the South East. We really enjoyed both the presentations that were made and the great hospitality that was shown. We learned a great amount, both about the challenges faced by the region and also how we can help to address them, particularly through the ERDF and the ESF.
“The Members who came on the delegation are vastly experienced and hugely influential and this will really help to put the case across for the South East in a coherent manner to European decision-makers.”
The delegation heard from local businesses interests including Laurent Borla (Arkopharma), Dermot Walsh (M&D Bakery), John Flahavan (E Flahavan & Sons), and Paul Nolan (Dawn Meats).
Commenting after his presentation to the visiting MEPs, Paul Nolan of Dawn Meats said he was delighted to have had the opportunity to outline the national and regional importance of the Beef Industry to Ireland and to make the case for Beef not being used by the EU as a bargaining chip when doing trade deals with other trading blocks.
“Whilst the Irish Beef Industry recognises that there will be some beef imports, it is crucial that these quotas are set with care and fully managed to minimise market disruption which would be to the detriment of our beef farming families who produce at cost, to the highest standards,” he said.
According to Chamber President Nora Widger: “The timing of this visit is important as we enter a new funding period for the European Union’s structural and investment funds.
“Our meeting with the delegation was positive and we exchanged a range of ideas and information which focussed on how we can strengthen our economy here in Waterford and the wider region.”