Sunday, 17th December 2017
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Working together and building a brighter future for Waterford and the South East Region was the key message at the Waterford Chamber Annual Dinner in the Tower Hotel on Friday night last.

Sponsored by Liberty Blue Estate Agents, the annual black tie event played host to over 250 business people from across the city and county.

Opening proceedings, following a drinks reception hosted by McDonald Dwyer Reddy & Byrne Insurances Ltd., Mayor of Waterford City & County, Cllr Pat Nugent said we are living in exciting times and are on the cusp of many exciting developments for the city.

"In the early years of the recession, Waterford Council would have indentified key economic drivers which were necessary to position Waterford to be ready for a future economic upturn.

"The SDZ designation of the City's North Quays is one of the most significant developments for Waterford and indeed the South East region. Waterford is ready for significant retail developments and the opportunities that will follow."

Waterford Chamber President Paul Nolan began his address by saying Waterford Chamber is working hard for the business community in Waterford and appealed for the next generation of business leaders to come forward and consider joining the Board of Management.

Speaking on the National Planning Framework (NPF), he said: "We need an urban centre to drive the region and Waterford has been designated such. We now have a tremendous opportunity to spell out what we need, which is easy – we just need half a chance to succeed. We have the can do and will do attitude.

"We see University status as a key that will unlock the potential in this area. The USP for Waterford is we are diverse, in terms of tech, pharma, life sciences and more. We are the bread basket of Ireland, with family farms and bountiful produce. We have all the ingredients to make the cake, we just need a little help to bake it. The opportunities are now there. Can we really afford not to grab them?"

Sponsor Regina Managan of Liberty Blue Estate Agents spoke of her involvment in the Waterford Chamber Regional Leaders Programme, saying that working collectively and learning from each other would make Waterford and the South East a stronger place to do business and grow.

Guest speaker Waterford City and County Council Chief Executive, Michael Walsh, spoke passionately and emotionally about how Waterford City is now entering a new and exciting phase of its development. Key investments in City Centre Regeneration, Waterford Greenway, Mount Congreve, the Michael Street Shopping Centre, the North Quays and by many enterprises, both foreign direct and indigenous, are reflecting a new energy and for the first time the dividend to be gained from the major infrastructure investments of the Celtic Tiger are manifesting themselves.

Mr. Walsh stated, "The challenge for all of us now is to seize the opportunity presenting itself to drive the City forward, in the spirit of its Viking founding fathers, to be one of the locations of choice in this country in which to live, visit or do business. We are blessed to inhabit a beautiful corner of the world with the amenities of the Comeraghs and the Coast on our door step and combining this with economic vibrancy will make Waterford a European Micro-City with few peers."

As guests toasted to the future of Waterford sipping their Muldoon cocktails, the air of excitement in the room was palpable and the message clearly delivered. In Michael Walsh's words "We have a collective vested interest to tell the story of Waterford. We are the people who control the action so let's tell the story."

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