Mullingar Chamber president John Geoghegan greeting Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe on his arrival at Mullingar Park Hotel on Friday evening for the Mullingar Chamber Business Awards.

Donohoe makes case for optimism as local economy ‘is strong’

The strength in Mullingar’s local economy should give people “confidence and optimism” for the uncertain times that lie ahead, according to Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe.

At last Friday’s Mullingar Chamber Business Awards in the Mullingar Park Hotel, where he was the guest speaker, Minister Donohoe said that while “we know the economic conditions that we are in are very different to what we would have wanted”, he wanted to make “the case for optimism”.

In addition to the healthy position of the national economy, he said that at a local level there is much cause for confidence.

“The work, for example, in the National Science Park that I had the privilege of visiting a number of years ago; the fact that your home, your town, your community is the epicentre in developments in advanced manufacturing.

“Look at the work that’s happening now in Marlinstown with the IDA developing new facilities so they are in a position to keep the investment that they have here and grow more in the future.”

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He also said that the Hammerlake decision to construct Ireland’s largest film studio in Mullingar is another sign that the future looks bright for the area, as well as being a vote of confidence in the local economy.

“Over €70m worth of investment in creating state of the art audio visual and film facilities – that is strength in your local economy created by all of you, which should give you that confidence and optimism for the time ahead.”

Minister Donohoe, who is due to be nominated by the government for a second term as President of the Eurogroup, said that for a local economy to grow “you need great people that can do it”.

“You need good people running good enterprises, looking after their people, innovating locally and doing so in a good and ethical way. Look at what you have all achieved in the awards that are going to be distributed and celebrated here this evening. The excellence that you are recognising at a local level due to your work is one of the many pillars that allows our economy to stand where it does nationally.”

While acknowledging that “we are living in a world that we hoped and wished would be different to how it currently stands”, Minister Donohoe said that “we should look into that world with confidence that we as a country and you as a local community have the measure of it, can respond to what is to come and can prosper, be secure and continue to be successful”.

At the start of his speech, Minister Donohoe said that he had to recognise the “brilliance” of Mullingar Chamber and singled out chamber president John Geoghegan for praise.

“The incredible work that John Geoghegan does on your behalf – if we could clone him and put one of him in every chamber, in every town and every city across our country, we’d grow even quicker next year as a country...”

For more coverage of the Mullingar Chamber Business Awards, including photos of the award winners, see pages 5-7.