Wednesday, 19th September 2018
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Michael Garland bizBoost PR

Connect Four

You know that game! The one with the blue plastic sandwich board, balancing on two wobbly feet. Covered in 42 circular holes, into which you fit your wee red or yellow pieces. A game for two-players, who take alternate turns to drop their coloured disks into the slot to "Connect Four" in a row, either vertically, horizontally or diagonally. An abstract strategy game that would realistically take between 1 and 10 minutes to play.

There are, apparently, over four and a half trillion game piece combinations, on the 7 by 6 play board grid. A tricky wee game, that came out in the mid-seventies and was the must have present at the time of release. It is a game where your strategy, could in due course, benefit your opponent's strategy.

Connecting four for Waterford, would certainly help our economic cause.

The Waterford Greenway, has as I have continually championed, been a massive success. More so for the "Wesht" of the county, as that after all is where the idea was first mooted and started. You only have to go in to Dungarvan's newly refurbished Grattan Square, to see hundreds of walkers and cyclists mingling with the locals. They're spending their hard earned Euros in cafes, restaurants, pubs and shops. It has been a phenomenally fiscal success story, everywhere along the 46km route. Except perhaps in Waterford City Centre.

This lack of connectivity to Waterford's beating heart is disappointing. At a time when the Greenway is fresh, new and exciting, Ireland's oldest City Centre is unquestionably missing out. The lack of a suitable connector to Bilberry, creates the wrong impression. It also gives an uneven balance to the spending profile of Greenway users. More money is being spent out of the City and yet the bulk of rate paying businesses are in the City. Plans are afoot to rectify this imbalance. The lack of speed, in implementing a suitable solution must be a concern.

Waterford Airport's woes continue to lack any connectivity. Two years have gone by, since any commercial flight took-off or landed for a foreign destination. There is quite literally tumbleweed blowing across the runway. Whilst other regional airports continue to "Boom" and attract funding, ours doesn't! We, the travelling public, are already connecting with other transport hubs such as Dublin and Cork. Bringing us back to Waterford will be a gargantuan task and maybe our Mission Impossible?

Our third level educators are failing to connect all the dots. Only last week, we heard that Dublin, , is almost certainly going to be the first Technological University in Ireland. This despite our enthusiasm after the 2011 Hunt Report was published, when we'd hope that Waterford and Carlow would wear this crown. Support had been canvassed, the application process keenly adopted, yet unfathomably, we still lost out?

DIT has also secured funding for a €220 million campus, due to open in 2020. Others are working together and making it happen. We appear to be bereft of connections and political backing to push the necessary buttons. Or maybe there is something deeper stalling our applications?

Our four political protagonists are making all the right connections, but in all the wrong places. Political neighbours are delivering in bucket loads for their constituents. Just look across the border to Kilkenny, Cork or Tipperary. The TDs in these heartlands are pulling rabbits out of their hats, at will. Time and time again we read about X, Y and Z being built, funded and completed. There has been no need for another report! No waiting for funding. No delays in getting Pashcal to loosen his purse strings. Some have such close connections that access to taxpayers' money is a bottomless pit.

Why then does Waterford not even have the most basic of connections? We have for as long as I can remember, been the bottom of so many waiting lists. Yet making the above four connect seamlessly, would undeniably help ALL our current causes.

Delivering better connections seems to be our Everest. Yes, we can always get to base camp, but the promise of oxygen to help us get to the top, never materialises. "Connect Four", a game we must win!


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