Donegal businessman James Arnold cares about the future of the county where he lives. He may be successful in his own right but the road ahead keeps him awake at night. In an article specially written for Donegal Daily, the recruitment specialist offers his thoughts on how Donegal and the north-west can emerge from the recession a much stronger and vibrant place.
Happiness is a North West called Hamlet!
This year two important people in Ireland said two very important things which should wake up and resound a voice all over the North West of Ireland.
Pearse Doherty the Sinn Fein TD said “Donegal has the highest rate of unemployment in Ireland at twice the state average, the lowest disposable income and youth unemployment is almost at 50%.”. This is true!
SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood said concerning Derry and Strabane, that the latest claimant levels were bleak and needed addressing. “These figures illustrate once again that Derry and its surrounds are facing serious economic difficulties and the Executive, Invest NI seem ambivalent to this. They constantly tell us they are working very hard to deliver for Derry and the North West on the economic promise since the Peace Process, but every time these figures are released Derry and its proximity is at the wrong end of the league table.”
Now! How do we fix this?
Politicians need business people to fix it!
An economic accord!
A new initiative!
An exciting new North West accord by collectivism!
If Peter Robinson MP – the First Minister… Or if Martin McGuiness – the deputy First minister and co equal in the Northern Ireland Assembly care about the North West, let them listen to a businessman talking sense. If the President of America – President Obama considers what I have to say important enough about the politics of whole world and writes a personal letter to me within 30 days – won’t the elected representatives of my own beautiful country also extend a small invitation and reply to hear what I have to say too? Because what I have to say is important. So listen please!
Elected politicians are not the only ones which care about the people in all of our society. Business people matter too! They care as well. They watch, they flinch, they move on. They seek for opportunities to grow – to invest – to employ, to make our country ( both regions of our country) – to make them great! If we make a profit – it is taxed – so we cannot be blamed for being successful.
Our relationship with Great Britain has outgrown the gruesome past of 600 years. Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Ireland some time ago lifted the entire island. These things matter.
Ireland’s love for Queen Elizabeth ( expressed in the words of a child – ‘She is the real Queen – she is here’) and the relationship of Great Britain and Ireland has been restored by words, kind words. Her bow – at our memorial of our own dead shook the chairs of the hurted. I am convinced of that. We all live with the past, we remember the past, we have a legacy of the past, but Ireland and Britain’s love for each other in our very own generation has been restored. Many great and brave people wept and sacrificed so much for this achievement. It’s all over. And what teenager and what young adult does not love William and Kate and their kids? None!
So what do I propose?
Donegal, Derry and Strabane. I want to talk about us.
All these regions have the highest unemployment rate in Europe – 50% .
It is bigger than Spain or Greece!
Donegal as an economic region has never worked successfully or economically within the E.U. Indeed the county voted twice to exit from the E.U. altogether because of its failure to address the economic issues concerning the region and its people within Ireland and its proximity to Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom.
It is the only region in all of Europe to say No to the E.U. and not without good reason. There are reasonable grounds for this. Its geography and its demographics and its failure to compete fairly. Donegal, Derry and Strabane are all bordered together beside two competing states and all feel the pinch – so too is Tyrone and Fermanagh.
But there is a circle of discontent within Donegal, Derry and Strabane. This is the circle of discontent. Mass unemployment exists inside the circle. The problem has not been addressed. Its location is situated in the farthest extremities of Western Europe. It’s out there on its own with conflicting economics, tax rates and VAT – and due to the mistakes of the past is not connected. The is a perpetual source of economic discomfort due to its political demography.
Proposal for happiness
I propose an economic circle – a dedicated zone for Donegal, Derry and Strabane – A tri-fold development recovery zone – ‘A North West of Ireland accord’ if you will. There are many stake holders and the rewards are wonderful. It will involve the government of the Republic of Ireland, The Government of Northern Ireland, The two governments of Ireland and Great Britain and negotiations with all relevant parties with the European Union. In a nutshell, negotiations are needed to declare the North West region of Ireland and its U.K. border regions an ‘Economic development zone’ with the E.U.
How many jobs for the region?
25,000! and with the services sector plugging in – 15,000– total 40,000 new jobs!
Corporation tax rate negotiated for the region for 25 years?
A corporation tax rate for the region of 5%
Europe imports billions of products from Asia, billions upon billions every year.
If the IDA and the NI development authority between them select about 75 – 100 good clean manufacturing – clean energy jobs – suitable companies – already and consistently supplying to the E.U. to locate within the dedicated zone – a small part of their operation then it can work. A paltry 5 -10% is all that is needed – and they will jump to take it. It will have no economic threat to the E.U’s existing manufacturers as they are already importing the goods and indeed the new zone will make it easier and less expensive. All the details can be worked out with both governments. We need to work together more than ever before.
All parties will gain. It’s a win win win!
All governments will see a substantial benefits saving, an income tax take up, a reduction in unemployment dole outs. The E.U. will see a fall in unemployment.
None, because the zone is limited. The agreement reached between the parties is focused to achieve a goal and nothing beyond.
I call on all parties to debate it and bring the region to full employment and social welll being and prosperity.
Prospects Recruitment in Ireland.