The participation by community organisations and businesses in Clifden and North Connemara, showcased in the Business & Community Expo, was indicative of what made the town a great place to visit, to do business in and crucially a great place in which to live.
This was the opinion of Marian as guest speaker, when she praised the organisers, participants and sponsors Bank of Ireland for mounting the very successful Clifden Enterprise Town event held in the Clifden Community School Gym. The event harnessed great local energy and emphasised that Clifden was a place that benefited from maintaining a balance between the economic and the social in ensuring a vibrant community, she said.
In a past visit to Clifden the need for a new school was an important issue but happily this had now been resolved, she said. However she stressed that the vital matter of adequate broadband service remained to be delivered. “The European Commission has published proposals on the Digital Agenda with the objective that every European household will have access to at least 100 megs/sec capacity”, she said. Almost €200 million had been allocated to France by the European Investment Bank to improve its broad band infrastructure and Ireland should look to use this loan facility to upgrade its broadband infrastructure, especially in rural areas, she said.
Referring to the role of LEADER and organisations like Forum and community based Connemara West, Marian said that she had been particularly pleased to have assisted in maintaining Forum’s independence when attempts had been made at government level to remove the bottom up basis for LEADER throughout the country.
“Genuine community participation delivers better outcomes as it gives ownership to the community and there is a buy in which helps to ensure both the success and the sustainability of projects supported by LEADER”, Marian concluded.