July 3rd, 2015
Regional development conference will assess strategic importance of Ireland West Airport Knock
 
The strategic importance of Ireland West Airport Knock (IWAK) will be one of the key topics discussed at a major regional development conference in Ballaghaderreen later this month.
Joe Gilmore, Managing Director, IWAK, will deliver a paper on the airport’s significance at the conference in the Northern & Western Regional Assembly Offices, Ballaghaderreen, on Friday, July 17 (1.30-5pm).
Organised by the Council for the West, the conference will look at issues likely to impact on the development of the west of Ireland in the years ahead, including farming, job creation in communities, and the role of the Western Development Commission.
It will mark the 21st anniversary of the Council for the West, a voluntary, independent, and non-political body founded by the Western Bishops in 1994. The Council successfully campaigned for retention of Objective 1 Status for the region in 1997 and was also instrumental in the establishment and retention of the Western Development Commission.  It continues to campaign for balanced regional development and highlights issues of major concern for the region.
The conference will also pay tribute to one of its founding members and former chairperson Sean Hannick, a tireless advocate of balanced regional development, who passed away in January of this year.
“Twenty-one years on from the foundation of the Council for the West, we feel this is an important time to take a fresh look at the whole area of Western regional development, and the list of speakers we have lined up for the conference will ensure lively and thought-provoking debate, out of which some valuable ideas are likely to emerge,” said chairperson of the Council for the West, Declan O’Callaghan.
“The Council for the West was founded in 1994, at a time when regional development in the West was under severe threat, and it could be argued that the same applies today. We want this conference to keep the development of the west on the agenda, while also assessing how the region’s needs have changed in the intervening period, due to advances in technology, business practices, community make-up and other factors.”
The conference will be chaired by Patsy McGarry, the well-known Irish Times Religious Affairs Correspondent, who will be returning to his native Ballaghaderreen for the event.
Following Registration at 1.30pm, the Conference will commence at 2.00pm with Welcome and Introduction by Declan O’Callaghan, Chairperson, Council for the West.
Minister for Rural Affairs Anne Phelan will then deliver the Opening Address, and the programme thereafter is as follows;
2.30–3.30pm, Panel Discussion 1: International and National Context
The Regional Perspective: Gerry Finn, CEO Northern & Western Regional Assembly;
The EU Context: Finola Moylette, Principal Officer for Rural Development (EU and National), Department of Environment, Community and Local Government;
Strategic Importance of Ireland West Airport: Joe Gilmore, Managing Director, IWAK;

 

3.30-4.30pm, Panel Discussion 2: The Local Perspective
Crusade for Survival & Tribute to the late Sean Hannick: Bishop Christy Jones;
Context of Western Regional Development: Professor Seamus Caulfield;
The Farming Context: Sean Finan, President Macra na Feirme;
Role of the Western Development Commission: Paddy McGuinness, Chair of WDC;
Communities Creating Jobs: Ivan McPhillips of GMIT and Communities Creating Jobs (CCJ);

 

          4.30–5pm, Closing Remarks & Summary: Conference Chair, Patsy McGarry.
 
 
 
The conference is taking place in conjunction with the annual Solas Festival in Ballaghaderreen. Delegates can register to attend by contacting Ms. Caroline Wilson, Administrator, Council for the West (096 32975 / cftwest@iol.ie ) in advance or at 1.30pm on the day.
ENDS
Contact Points:
 
Chairman:                   Declan O’Callaghan Tel: 087 2435011
Administrator:          Caroline Wilson, Tel: 096 32975 / 086 289 9296 / email: cftwest@iol.ie
 
The Council for the West is a voluntary, independent, non-political body which monitors and reports on the socio-economic state of the West and acts as a lobby group promoting the development of the West. The Council for the West was set up by the Western Bishops in 1994 and has successfully campaigned for retention of Objective 1 Status for the region in 1997 and was also instrumental in the establishment and retention of the Western Development Commission.  It continues to campaign for balanced regional development and highlights issues of major concern for the region.