South Kildare is the poor relation when it comes to investment in jobs across the County. And the proposed relocation of the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) could make it worse. At a recent Council I proposed a motion that Kildare County Council work with the Kildare-Wicklow Education and Training Board to help bridge the gap between those areas of interest to the IDA and those that are not.
I recently had experience of an International company seeking opportunities to set up in Ireland. They would not even consider South Kildare, largely due to a mismatch between skill-sets and needs. Rather than giving out about the lack of IDA visits to South Kildare, we need to make them stand up and take notice that we have relevant skill-sets to attract investment in South Kildare. With a budget and resources 3 times that of KCC , the Kildare-Wicklow Education and Training Board is ideally positioned to help close the gap between more disadvantaged regions and regions that are at present more attractive to FDI.
I would argue that the Local Enterprise Office, who had completed the report to my motion, isn’t sufficiently resourced to oversee a strategic plan of this scope. As part of the response to my motion, the CEO of KCC Peter Carey agreed that discussions have and would take place with the ETB as part of the upcoming County Development Plan process. He added that he had been in discussion with North Kildare Chamber regarding relocation of the Local Enterprise Office which is currently located at KCC offices in Naas.
North Kildare chamber is doing incredible work on behalf of the business community of North Kildare. However, it is imperative that the business groups including chambers and BNI’s who employ 1000,s in South Kildare are given an opportunity to discuss the most appropriate location for the LEO. If South Kildare is already at a disadvantage in terms of FDI, then the location of the LEO, whose role it is to support local enterprise should certainly not serve to compound a two-tier system of support and investment across the County.