I thank Deputy Neville for raising this issue about the mid-west region, which he frequently raises at the Joint Committee on Business, Enterprise and Innovation. I am interested in it too. During February and March, we launched nine new regional enterprise plans covering the period from 2018 to 2020, which build on the strong progress made on employment creation under the regional action plan for jobs for 2015 to 2017. These nine new plans take into account new and emerging opportunities and challenges including Brexit. I am pleased to say that implementation has commenced in all nine regions. Shaped from the bottom up by regional stakeholders, which is important to point out, and overseen by my Department, the new plans complement national level policies and programmes emanating from the top down and there is strong alignment with Ireland’s national enterprise policy, Enterprise 2025 Renewed and with the Government's Project Ireland 2040 and the Future Jobs Ireland initiatives.
We launched the regional enterprise plan for the mid-west region, which covers Limerick, Clare and Tipperary, on 20 February at the Irish Bioeconomy Foundation site at Lisheen, County Tipperary. The plan for the mid-west is focused on achieving impacts across five strategic objectives including developing the digital and innovation economy, progressing towards a low carbon economy, developing workforce skills, developing the capacity for economic growth and building a co-ordinated regional brand. Each of the five objectives involves a focus on County Limerick as part of the mid-west region. Initiatives to be pursued under the plan of significance for Limerick city and county include the development of an autonomous mobility testbed, the positioning of Limerick and the mid-west as a national centre for advanced manufacturing and the development of a sports technology cluster, building on the initial study by Limerick City and County Council.
The strategic objectives and actions in the mid-west plan are set out alongside, and add value to, the enterprise agencies’ activities, including Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, and the LEOs' core activities in County Limerick and the wider mid-west region, including the recently launched Enterprise Ireland regional strategy, Powering the Regions.