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News & Events

Minister English visits Waterford Local Enterprise Office and meets client companies

Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD, was in Co. Waterford today where he visited the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) and met staff and some client companies.

The Minister was greeted at the Mall by the Mayor of Waterford Councillor Joe Kelly, Senator John Cummins and Marc O’Cathasaigh TD. He then met with Head of Enterprise, Richie Walsh and Senior Enterprise Development Officers, Brid Kirby and Jacqui Gaule. Minister English was given a presentation on the LEO performance in the county and their priorities and future plans before meeting with members of the LEO team, the Evaluation Committee and Local Authority members.

 Minister English said:

 “It is great to hear about the breadth of work underway here in Waterford LEO and also to learn about their exciting future plans. The support of the LEO network in providing training, mentoring and other practical assistance to businesses has been more crucial than ever in recent times.  That role will be equally important now as businesses seek to grow and I am confident that their work, in tandem with our new Regional Enterprise Plans and other Government initiatives, will drive economic activity and will create jobs here in Waterford.”

Earlier the Minister called to LEO client company O’Connell Whiskey Merchants in Kilmacthomas, who are an independent bottler and bonder of spirits, especially Irish whiskey.

Minister English also visited a number of LEO client companies at the Kite Design Studios in the Viking Triangle. Tony Hayes of Irish Handmade Glass explained to the Minister how the business was set up in 2009 after the closure of Waterford Crystal and is made up of a team of master craftsmen. They specialise in coloured, mouth blown and hand-cut crystal. 

The Minister then met with Peter Arkins, owner of Standing Stones who use slate to create replica models depicting Ireland's Megalithic Monuments. Gene O’Shea told the Minister how his company specialise in handmade pure silver jewellery.

Finally, Minister English heard from Michelle Dunne, an artist and metalworker who creates bespoke pieces for Strong Roots Jewellery, using the Celtic Tree Calendar as inspiration for her unique creations.

On the conclusion of his visit, Minister English said:

 “It is wonderful to be here in Waterford and witness how these businesses tap into the rich history of the area and continue long traditions of craftmanship and creativity. The spirit of local enterprise is vibrant here and the Government will continue to assist businesses like these through the support of the LEO network, Regional Enterprise funding and other initiatives. This will enable job creation and also ensure balanced regional development throughout the country.”