Martin Heydon Fine Gael TD for Kildare South has today (Monday) welcomed the launch of the Mid East Action Plan for Jobs which focusses on key actions to enhance job creation in this region which includes Co. Kildare.  The regional action plan is launched by Minister Richard Bruton this morning.

“As chairman of Fine Gaels internal committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs and a proud supporter of the equine industry I welcome the focus on the important bloodstock industry in Co. Kildare and the priority it is being given by Minister Richard Bruton and the government agencies.  Actions around agri food will also benefit Kildare South and the greater Athy area which has a rich history in food production with some of the best agricultural land in the Country in the area.

“As a potential global brand, the plan aims to capitalise on the existing high-quality facilities and tradition in the equine sector, to expand on its established reputation and become a hub for the sport-horse industry and associated activities including racing, training and education, breeding and bloodstock, research and development. The scope of this opportunity includes the development of equine tourism, as well as the promotion of the region as a location for national and international equine events.  Specific initiatives in the plan include developing a joint marketing strategy to brand the region as the Equine Capital of the world

“Tourism is also a feature of the action plan with a focus on the new Ancient East brand which has huge potential for South Kildare. Initiatives include plans to improve collaboration between different bodies in the region on tourism initiatives, in particular Ireland’s Ancient East, Blueways and Greenways and other recreational tourism facilities serving the greater Dublin area

“The important agri-food sector is also targeted with plans to develop food tourism measures, Food Works clinic in the Mid East in 2016 and targeting food companies in the Mid East to scale and innovate.  I see this as promising for the greater Athy area which has significant potential for agri food production given it’s history of food production from Minch’s to Bachelors peas in the past.

“This plan is part of a €250m national regional jobs strategy and aims to increase jobs in this region by 10-15% by 2020 which is an additional 25,000-30,000 with a focus on the next 3 years.  The Mid East region includes Kildare, Meath and Wicklow.