I am proud to represent Waterford on the Southern Regional Assembly, which has a role in linking local with national policy goals through regional planning and the roll out of the Economic and Spatial Strategy for the Region.
The Assembly also has a remit for the promotion and support for balanced regional development through the management of EU programmes under the European Structural & Investment Funds. It also forges links between spatial and economic planning and EU funding for the benefit of the people of the Southern Region.
Sinn Féin has a vision of a different type of economic growth, one that leaves the failed boom-bust policies of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in the past. I want to see measured, sustainable economic development that doesn’t see entire regions left behind.
The South East, with Waterford at its centre, can be an economic powerhouse. Leveraging its rich tourism offering, its unparalleled agricultural and seafood produce, its connectivity, its strong communities and its proud industrial labour force, the South East can emerge from a decade of austerity and the current public health and economic crises to build a strong, sustainable and forward looking economy that works for the people of the region.
I have contributed to the new Regional Economic and Spacial Strategy, which sets out the steps that should be taken to realise this vision. I was keen that the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals would be included in the plan as high-level strategic imperatives, to ensure development strengthens equality, supports economic and social justice, and guards the environment for future generations.
Some of the issues that I am currently working on are:
- A Technological University for the South East with WIT at its core, campuses throughout the region, and a collaborative ethos.
- Investment in Social Infrastructure including health and social care, 24/7 emergency cardiac cover, community nursing, and improved mental health services.
- Investing in renewable energy generation and developing greater energy efficiency.
- Maritime planning, safeguarding natural resources, investment in the seafood sector and championing ‘blue growth’.
- Investment in Public Transport and associated infrastructure across the region.
- Further developing our region’s tourism offering to add value and attract a greater share of the domestic and overseas market