Ireland Suffers Reputational Damage
Today is a day for sick disappointment and for anger at a system that allowed this to happen but tomorrow has to be a day for beginning to build hope again in Athenry. This was stated by Marian Harkin, independent MEP following the announcement by Apple that it was pulling out of establishing a data centre in Athenry
Speaking from Athenry, Marian Harkin continued “Today I have spoken to second level students in Athenry, to people in business and others about this body blow to this town and the entire region. While there was incomprehension that our systems allowed this to happen, I still got a sense that Athenry is a good business town with a strong and well populated hinterland. The fact that there are nearly 2,000 second level students in Athenry is a real indication of the size of the surrounding population.
That drive that sustains Athenry was there before the Apple announcement and remains afterwards, but it must be nourished and supported by state agencies and by politicians. Athenry has to be given a reason to hope for its future and while it is highly unlikely that a similar opportunity to the Apple proposed investment will present itself in the near future, nonetheless, a special effort must be made to drive investment and employment creating opportunities in Athenry. I believe that special attention should be given to indigenous SME’s in Athenry and its hinterland.
“Finally, we need at a national level to ensure that such a debacle can never happen again and amend our legislation to streamline such applications while keeping the necessary checks and balances in place.
“Athenry has suffered a hammer blow while Ireland Inc has suffered reputational damage – this cannot happen again”, Marian Harkin concluded