Wednesday, 17th January 2018
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Michael Garland,

bizBoost Chair,

Waterford Business Group

"Forget New Year Resolutions, maybe we need a Revolution?"

"I don’t believe it!" We’re not even two weeks into the New Year and already there are Cream Eggs in many of the larger supermarkets. The shelves are beginning to fill and bulge, with all manner of chocolate gooey ovalness. With the annual Halloween "Trick or

Treating", has now merged, seamlessly, into baubles and tinsel, New Year and Easter appear to be rolling together as well. Soon there will be absolutely NO separation between our seasonal festivities and that’s a shame. Our year will be truncated by one big commercial temptation, with no time to rejoice or rest, for that matter.

I was asked the other day, whilst on the Friday Panel of Eamon Keane’s Déise Today programme, if I’ve made any New Year resolutions? I told Eamon and his listeners, that I’d given up making these a very, very long time ago. Personally, I do think it is important to give yourself goals and targets. However, committing to these just once a year, never really worked for me. As your circumstances change, so must the objectives you have set. Adaptation, commitment and flexibility are the key.

Anyway, having told the listeners that I don’t have any individual resolutions set for 2018, I did have a few wishes for Waterford Inc. Namely, that our four elected TDs would actually deliver on their 2016 General Election promises for this, the "Quiet County!"

The background to this, in relation to our health, is the shocking, but not surprising, revelation that Ireland Inc. needs 2,500 new hospital beds. Failure to deliver these in the next few years, will leave a much greater deficit of around 9,000, further down the line. Such complete and utter lack of forward planning, to future proofing of our health care, just beggar’s belief! More worryingly for Waterford, this is a significant national distraction, we don’t need, in relation to our ongoing 24/7 cardio campaign. Unfortunately, when to comes to the health of those living in Waterford and the South East, this is yet another well aimed nail, driven into our coffin.

A spate of Facebook ping-pong was observed last week on the subject of 24/7 cardio care. It seems that ALL political parties are claiming and counter-claiming, that they have or have not tabled a motion. It appears that we are as fractured as ever on this regional issue. From what I have heard on the political grapevine, we are no nearer to getting REAL all party support. Quite clearly point scoring, has taken precedence over our ailing health issues.

What of our SDZ on the North Quay? I know that we are being told that this is full steam ahead and that the Arabs will be bringing their wealth, their Riyal, to develop this crucial piece of infrastructure. What if we need a plan B? I don’t hear any talk of just what this might be. Have we put all our Easter eggs into the one basket – I for one hope not!

Our airport continues to get a leg-up from government backed funding. As time ever so slowly moves forward, we have to wonder if we will ever attract another carrier of significance. Runway extension is all that is needed to secure this lifeline. Alas, those holding on onto the purse strings don’t seem to be so convinced. The longer we go on without an operator, the more the people of the South East will get used to the short drive to Dublin and Cork. Can we be sure there is a plan B to secure the levels of funding others receive?

WIT continues its age old battle to get University status. Continually moving goal posts, whilst other third level university institutions swallow up ALL the funding. Will there ever be space for a university of the South East? Again time is marching on and quite clearly, some are ahead of us in the queue. We don’t seem to be sticking our elbows out wide enough, to stop others pushing in.

2018 is already upon us. I hope that those who can influence Waterford’s future, took a long hard look at themselves over the festive period. They needed to set a few New Year resolutions and deliver them!

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