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Waterford 'won't recover' unless it's made the South East's economic hub

Despite receiving more IDA visits than surrounding counties, it is not considered the area’s economic capital.

WATERFORD NEEDS TO be accepted as the South East’s economic capital to allow the region to recover, a Senator has said.

Sinn Féin’s David Cullinane, who penned the 10 year South-East Economic Development Strategy last year, said that part of the problem for the region is other counties not wanting Waterford to be the main gateway for the area.

“We also don’t work well together and gel together as a region and that was something that was quite obvious to me even in talking to people from across the different counties” said Cullinane.

If you have a strong gateway city, a strong hub, if you have an economic driver – which should have been Waterford city – that can drive on economic development across the region.

Industrial Development Industry visit figures for the South-East, published this morning, show that there is a push for development in Waterford ahead of any other county.

Waterford has had 78 IDA visits since 2009 compared to a combined 43 visits for Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary and Wexford.

“We have a situation where Carlow would see itself maybe as closer to Dublin and closer to the Midlands” explains Cullinane.

People in North Wexford might see themselves as having more in common with Wicklow and Dublin than they would with Waterford or Tipperary.

“So there was geographical reasons and also I think that there was a sense of people protecting their own interests and (saying) we want the infrastructure in our areas, we want whatever slice of the pie is going.”

Waterford has been slow to recover after being hit hard by recession.

Figures for IDA site visits reveal that Dublin, as the most populous county, holds the top spot with 995 visits – more than five times as many visits as Cork (195 visits).

Read: Has YOUR county been overlooked for foreign investment? >

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