Economic Development Unit
Background and Context: Local Government Reform Programme
Reform of Local Government
In 2013/2014, the government embarked on a significant reform of local government. The reform programme was driven by a number of objectives, initiatives and reports. The government vision for Local Government was set out as follows:
Local government will be the main vehicle of governance and public service at local level – leading economic, social and community development, delivering efficient and good value services, and representing citizens and local communities effectively and accountably.
The reform programme was built around this vision, with a key objective of local government being to promote the well-being and quality of life of citizens and communities, through effective, accountable representation, and efficient performance of functions and delivery of services. Local authorities were viewed as having as broad a role as possible in public service and administration, not only in the specific service areas that have traditionally been their main business focus, but also in contributing to national recovery and economic growth.
New functions – Economic, Community and Social Development
In 2014, the role of local government was strengthened, and its role refocused, particularly towards economic, social and community development. In the short term, the functions of local government were strengthened in the following areas in particular:
- an enhanced and clearer role in economic development and enterprise support;
- close involvement in community and local development;
- widening the reach of local government by using its capacity to undertake functions with or on behalf of other sectors and performing a broad co-ordination and leadership role locally.
There is now a stronger role for local government in promoting economic development sustaining and creating a positive environment for job creation. There was and is a strong rationale for increased local government involvement in economic development because of the economic impact of its functions generally, its links with enterprise, its local knowledge and leadership, economic initiatives by many local authorities, and its local development and enterprise functions.
The economic development role is supported by a dedicated Economic Strategic Policy Committee (SPC).
Kerry County Council Economic Development Unit
Kerry County Council appointed its Economic Development Officer Ms. Bridget Fitzgerald in 2016. The role of the Economic Development Unit is to promote economic development sustaining and creating a positive environment for job creation. The Economic Development Unit’s functions include:
- County/Regional working group of State Agencies including Kerry County Council/IDA/Enterprise Ireland and the Institute of Technology Tralee established to coordinate the potential of economic development in the county.
- marketing County Kerry.
- supporting the provision of Economic Infrastructure within the County.
- Identification of funding opportunities.
- Develop projects announced under the recent Enterprise Ireland-led Regional Enterprise Development Fund in collaboration with industry and third level education providers.
- liaise with the Regional Skills Forum and Third Level Institutions in relation to skills development.
- contribution to Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies.
- leading and mobilising economic development locally in conjunction with relevant agencies.
- implement the Kerry Local Economic and Community Plan 2016-2022.
- work with the Broadband Officer to ensure that Kerry is prioritised for the provision of high speed broadband.
- Land use planning.
Contact Bridget Fitzgerald at (066) 7183500 Extension 3843
Bridget Fitzgerald is Economic Development Officer for Kerry County Council and is Head of the Economic Development Unit. She leads promotion and facilitation of job creation and economic development across the County. She holds a Bachelor of Business Studies Degree and is a Certified Public Accountant. She has previously worked in the financial services industry and private practice.
Kerry Local Economic and Community Plan 2016-2022
The Co. Kerry Local Economic & Community Plan (LECP) 2016 – 2022 was developed by the Local Community Development Committee (LCDC). The LECP for Co. Kerry contains a focused number of high level goals and actions to drive economic, social and community development in the county over the next six years in an integrated manner. The LECP was developed in consultation with key stakeholders, the broader community and business interests and has taken into account relevant national, regional and local policies.
The Local Enterprise Office
Kerry County Council Local Enterprise Office is based in County Buildings in Tralee but provides a service across the county with the exception of Gaeltacht areas. This office is an essential resource for the small business sector in County Kerry. The role of the office is to;
- Support start up and growing micro businesses (employing 10 or less)
- Provision of business training and financial support capacity.
- One stop shop function pointing to other business resources
Local Enterprise Office Kerry is the first stop shop to provide support and services to start, grow and develop micro business in Kerry.
Contact Tomás Hayes at (066) 7183500 Extension 3221
Tomás Hayes is Head of Local Enterprise in Kerry County Council and oversees the operation of the Local Enterprise Office. He holds a primary B. Agr. Science (For.) from U.C.D. and an M.B.A. (University of Limerick). His work experience includes periods in the sawmilling and forest processing sector, overseas development with Irish Aid, local development and micro-enterprise development.
KerrySciTech is a not-for-profit organisation established to showcase science and technology jobs and employers in County Kerry.
If you are a company seeking to fill a science or technology position in Kerry, you can advertise jobs on the KerrySciTech website.
For jobseekers, if you have skills in the areas of science or technology, you can use the KerrySciTech website to apply for jobs advertised by members. You apply directly to the member companies, so none of your details are stored on this website.
Regional Enterprise Development Fund 2017-2020
The investment of €30.5 million under the Enterprise Ireland-led Regional Enterprise Development Fund was announced by Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, Heather Humphreys on Monday 11th December 2017 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.
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.
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.
Co-Working Office Space in Kerry
The Killarney Technology Innovation Centre (KTI) offers a range of enterprise suites and desk spaces. This is an ideal business start-up location for knowledge-intensive enterprises. Client businesses will typically operate in such areas as e-commerce, software, multi-media, tourism, web and knowledge-based sectors.
HQTralee provides customised facilities for Entrepreneurs, SME’s and Startups that foster collaboration and business development, and provide businesses with the future tools and assistance to grow their businesses.
HQTralee includes a commercial business floor, own-door business suites, co-working and meeting rooms, event spaces, a rooftop terrace and break-out spaces.
The Tom Crean Centre
The Tom Crean Centre provides start-up businesses with the right environment to build and scale an international business, combining office space with business support services in an environment rich with a network of entrepreneurs. Our focus is on technology and knowledge intensive sectors.
The Carnegie co working space in Castleisland has desk space for entrepreneurs and micro enterprises, established or start up. There is also a bright and fresh meeting room available to hire. The Carnegie building is open to the public every morning from 9.00am to 1.00pm, Monday to Friday.
Creativity & Innovation Hub
This is a community enterprise initiative supported by Dingle Business Chamber, Eir, Údarás na Gaeltachta and Kerry County Council. Eir is playing a pivotal role by underpinning the overall connectivity of the Hub. All funding partners have been very supportive of the project from the outset. The Hub will be located at the Údarás na Gaeltachta Business Park in Cuilín, Dingle, in a specially fitted-out office facility. Initially there will be 20 spaces available to support new business formation, comprising of co-working spaces, dedicated offices and hot desks.
Office light is a shared office/co working space with customized facilities for Entrepreneurs, SME’s and Startups. Office light offers private offices, open offices, virtual offices, high speed fibre broadband connection, meeting room facilities and tea and coffee making facilities, in a newly developed premises in 5 West Main Street, Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry.
Sneem Digital Hub
The Sneem Digital Hub is currently exploring a number of employment creation initiatives for the area and is working with organisations including IDA Ireland to explore opportunities.
The Centre is now nearing completion and the Digital Hub is now taking Expressions of Interest for it’s facilities.