FEXCO, Dairymaster, the Institute of Technology Tralee and Kerry County Council have welcomed the announcement today of grant aid for the development of a Digital Innovation Hub as well as the AgriTech Centre of Excellence in Kerry, hailing the investment as a major jobs and economic boost for the county.
The investment under the Enterprise Ireland-led Regional Enterprise Development Fund was announced by Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, Heather Humphreys this morning and will forge new paths for economic growth and accelerated job creation in the southwest, building on regional strengths in financial services and the agritech sectors.
The Global Centre of Excellence in Agri-Tech will be developed in association with IT Tralee and north Kerry-based dairy equipment manufacturing company, Dairymaster, with the support of Kerry County Council. It will position Kerry as the national leader in agri-tech training, research and development and will enhance the county’s reputation internationally as being at the forefront of the international agri-tech industry. Commenting on the award, CEO of Dairymaster, Prof Edmond Harty, stated: ‘Dairymaster welcomes the news on the Agritech Centre of Excellence. It is a positive development for the sector nationally that both government and industry has shown commitment to this important industry, thereby assisting its continued growth and development into the future’
The Killorglin-based RDI Hub will build on the southwest regional strengths to establish its USP as a globally connected financial services, innovation and ICT skills hotspot. The hub will be based at the former Liebig factory building in Killorglin and will nurture entrepreneurs, research and development and training in the financial technology sector. Commenting on the award, Denis Mc Carthy, Managing Director of FEXCO stated: ‘FEXCO welcomes this news. It re-enforces our existing commitment to sustaining and developing IT opportunities in the South West of Ireland. We are delighted to be able to do this in continuing collaboration with the other bodies who are committed to the economic growth and development of this region.’
Minister Humphreys has also announced financial support for Kerry SciTech which is a not-for-profit organisation led by industry and supported by IT Tralee and Kerry County Council. Based at the Tom Crean Business Centre at the IT Tralee North Campus, the primary aim of KerrySciTech is to promote and highlight Kerry as a science and technology hotspot. There have also been allocations for the Sneem Digital Hub and the Dingle Creativity and Innovation Hub (Mol Teic) in Dingle.
The announcement of funding follows a recent decision by Kerry County Council to set aside €600,000 in its 2018 Budget to assist in the development of key economic projects in the county in keeping with the objectives of the South West Regional Action Plan for Jobs and the council’s own strategic economic development objectives. It is also a resounding support for the ambition of IT Tralee and local industry leaders to develop these projects with the support of the local authority, representing true collaboration across the public and private sectors.
Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council, Cllr John Sheahan described the investment as a huge economic boost for Kerry and said it proved what could be achieved when public bodies, education providers and private companies work and collaborate in the interests of their regions. ‘When Kerry County Council chose to support these ambitious and innovative projects, we did so on the basis of the huge potential they offer for job creation and promoting the county as a centre of excellence in both FinTech and AgriTech in the future.’
Kerry County Council Chief Executive, Moira Murrell said: ‘This investment from central government highlights what can be achieved in a rural county like ours when the local authority, industry leaders and third level institutions work together to drive economic development and job creation in their regions. It also shows how the foresight of councillors and council management in providing financial support for these projects can yield significant results and leverage funding from the State.’
President of IT Tralee, Dr Oliver Murphy, in welcoming the announcement stated: ‘The IT Tralee is delighted with the allocation of funding of €14.29m to the Southern Region and in particular the success of the Kerry projects, which will have both regional and national impact. We look forward to working with all of the stakeholders involved as these projects come to fruition and the impact the investment will have on job creation in the region.’