Covid Response Group Formed For Mid-West

13 May 2020 | 02.07 pm

Covid Response Group Formed For Mid-West

Priority is retraining hospitality workers

13 May 2020 | 02.07 pm

Public and private organisations in Clare, Limerick and Tipperary have launched a Covid-19 economic recovery programme, the first regional economic response to the fallout from the pandemic.

The initiative involves multinational and local employers, plus state and semi-state entities, that have come together to create a retraining programme for thousands affected by the economic fallout of the pandemic.

The Regional Covid-19 Response Group (RCRG) says its immediate response has been to identify online retraining programmes to target people displaced in the tourism, retail, hospitality and allied sectors.

The group is also developing a longer-term strategy to identify and maximise regional development opportunities. According to RCRG, these will be based on empowering individuals and communities, through digital technologies, “to accelerate the economic, social and environmental transition to a resilient and thriving carbon neutral region by 2026”. 

The aim is to make the mid-west the most digitally connected and environmentally sustainable peripheral region in the EU by that date.

The group was initiated by Barry O’Sullivan, vice president of manufacturing at J&J Vision Care; Denis Kelly (pictured), formerly of  Dell Technologies and now president of DK Strategic Solutions; and Eamonn Murphy, managing director of the  Irish Centre for Business Excellence.  

Group members include the IDA, Enterprise Ireland, University of Limerick, Limerick Institute of Technology, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board, Limerick and Tipperary local authorities, Limerick Chamber of Commerce, and a range of multinational and indigenous enterprises located in the region.

Chairman Dr Eamonn Murphy said: “Before Covid-19 there were 220,000 people employed in Clare, Limerick and Tipperary and 48,000 were in tourism, retail, hospitality and allied sectors. These sectors have been dealt a massive body blow that is threatening to undermine the incredible economic success of this region over the past decade. 

“The establishment of the Regional Covid-19 Response Group and the strides already made in such a short time reflects the unrivalled degree of cohesion and collaboration here in the mid-west and that will give us a very significant edge in spearheading the recovery.

“There’s a huge can-do spirit here from top down, that is not alone going to get us through this very difficult patch but position us as a European best practice region for the future.”

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