Midlands region urgently needs its own development commission - Offaly TD
Independent TD for Laois-Offaly Carol Nolan has said that consideration needs to be given to the establishment of a Midlands Development Commission similar to the Western Development Commission (WDC) which has been in existence since 1997.
Deputy Nolan went on to say that the WDC has proven itself to be highly effective in ensuring that government policy is directed at improving the social and economic situation in the Western Region from Donegal to Clare.
“The Western Development Commission which was created in 1997 came into being because there was a clear sense that this particular region had distinct challenges that could only be tackled by a well-funded statutory body.
"It currently operates a €32 million Western Investment Fund that provides loans and equity to business and local communities in the Western Region.
"I accept that we have the work of the various regional transition and Just Transition teams; but that work by its very nature is likely to be time-limited. What will the Midlands do when government feel that we have arrived at the ‘transition’ point?
"To overcome this, we should give urgent consideration to establishing a permanent Midlands Development Commission, that will draw from the work on the ground and be placed a statutory footing.
"One of the other benefits to establishing a Midlands Development Commission is that it could avoid duplication.
"The Western Development Commission are the only agency with the remit to develop and proactively facilitate strategies at the regional level.
"They are also the only agency commissioned by government to put proposals to them on policy changes appropriate to the West.
"The Midland counties need a body of this scale, policy reach and focus,” concluded Deputy Nolan.