Friday, May 22, 2009

Is Waterford Being Downgraded?

A very interesting document was published recently by The National Competitiveness Council (NCC) entitled Our Cities: Drivers of National Competitiveness. This report examines Cities in Ireland and recommends investment priorities to the Department of the Taoiseach. And the most interesting thing about this document on Irish cities: the stark fact that WATERFORD CITY is not in it.

I find it absolutely extraordinary that a document of this nature can exist and exclude one city only. Waterford. Has Waterford City been downgraded by this Government? It would sure explain the lack of movement on the University issue. It would explain why the Government walked away from Waterford Crsytal. It would exlpain why we're on the hind tit for all and every type of investment. It would explain how the Tánaiste can come in to our city and say that the loss of Waterford Crystal is "no big deal" and why she's "not convinced" about the University arguement.

The report issued by the National Competitiveness Council states that "ensuring the long-term economic and social vibrancy of our main cities through the provision of targeted supports is essential for national and regional competitiveness". Is Waterford to be denied these targeted supports? Is the South East? The report recommends the prioritising of investment in the "Atlantic Corridor" which it describes as Galway-Limerick-Cork and the Belfast-Dublin Corridor. So it seems that the answer, as far as the recommendation of the National Competitiveness Council goes, is yes, we are to be denied that investment.

The Government is shortly to review and 'refresh' the National Spatial Strategy which was developed in 2002 and which sought to "build up a critical mass in a small number of large urban centres to enable them to drive growth in their wider regions". We must be alert to ensuring that Waterfords' designation as a Gateway City is not diluted in that review. Reports like this one give me cause to suspect that the Government is not serious about Waterfords' future.

In my experience, Government is very fond of referencing recommendations such as these when making policy decisions and it is essential that we send the message clearly that Waterford and the South East will not continue to accept standards less than those of other competing regions. Is the South East not to benefit from targeted investment? Will the development of Waterford not enhance the South East economy and indeed the economy of Ireland as a whole?

We must let organisations like the National Competitiveness Council know that we will not accept their downgrading. They have, with one swoop, completely ignored the development of the South East region with a population of almost half a million people. It is absolutley crucial that Waterford gets the investment it needs in order to drive the economic growth of this region.

This must stop now. Reports like this that exclude one city and a designated gateway, no less should be sent back to the drawing board. We must be on our guard and alert to these threats to our small, yes, but amazing city. Our people and this region deserve to be on a par with every other city and every other region.

Perhaps this report and others like it are the justification the Government is seeking. When are we going to stop accepting less and start fighting for our rights to be treated equally.
The report for anyone who is interested can be accessed at,3953,en.php


Cian Foley said...

Mary, surely we can invoke some discrimination law based on this continuous oversight???

First of all we need to make an example of someone to get the fact Waterford is a city in the news... e.g. sue lonely planet for damages by calling Waterford a town and in the same publication Kilkenny a city.

Secondly we could start getting ourselves a higher profile with the right people by inviting big names down here for big national events... events they cannot ignore such as being a guest to raise the Irish tri-colour on it's anniversary each year to commemorate it's origin in the oldest city... this we can do if we erect a monumental flag pole!

basically we need to be shameless with our boasting!!!

Anonymous said...

I'll be voting for you in the next general election. somebody who cares about Waterford

Anonymous said...

I first read this in the local paper, thanks for bringing this to our attention.