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News Archive for the ‘Press Releases’ Category

Western Development Commission lead €1 million investment in Sligo based health food company Good4U

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Investment will fund development of a new seed roasting and R&D facility in Sligo and create 25 new jobs

Good4U, the award winning Sligo based health food company, has secured a €1 million investment in a funding round from Western Development Fund, Enterprise Ireland, AIB and internal investment from the company.

Good4U100314_017JC

The €1 million investment, combined with increased sales and new business opportunities, will fuel the expansion of Good4U by facilitating the opening of a new R&D and production headquarters in Finisklin Business Park in Sligo and lead to the creation of 25 new positions over the next two years.

Founded in 2004, Good4U is a family business established by Bernie Butler and her daughters Laura, sales and marketing manager, and Michelle, a certified dietician and nutritionist, and son Karol, the company’s financial controller. The family have pioneered the development and marketing of a unique range of functional foods including fresh ready-to-eat sprouted seeds, wheatgrass products and roasted seed snacks and ingredients.   Supersprouts and Brocco Shoots are the company’s platform product, and these consist of an innovative mix of sprouted broccoli, alfalfa, clover and radish seeds which have been proven in research from the University of Ulster to have anti-cancer properties.

Good4U’s other manufacturing facility based in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone employs 18 people.  This is where Good4U will produce a wide range of sprouted seeds for the retail and foodservice sectors. Capacity at this site is more suited to sprouted seed production and relocating the roasted seed operation to Sligo will increase capacity for sprouted seed production in the Tyrone plant by over 50%.

Good4U’s current customers include Tesco UK & Ireland. Supervalu, Centra, Marks & Spencer’s UK and Ireland, Sainsbury’s UK, and independent customers in the UAE and Russia.  In addition, the company is in advanced discussions with Spar and other major UK retailers. Export sales to countries where research indicates high demand for healthy snack alternatives such as Spain, Sweden, France and the USA are also actively being pursued. The company’s exciting New Product pipeline will be instrumental in winning new business and will account for other sales opportunities ensuring the growth of the company.

Geraldine McLoughlin, Investment Executive, Western Development Commission, said:

“This is a great opportunity for the Western Development Commission to invest in a very exciting company. Good4U has an experienced and successful management team who have built up a very strong recognisable brand with an excellent track record of innovation and new product development. This company will also be directly employing 25 people in Sligo which is great news for the local area.  So, as well as the Western Development Commission investment making good commercial sense, having such a high calibre business in the Western Region will contribute to the area’s vibrant indigenous enterprise base.”

Commenting on the investment, Bernie Butler, Managing Director of Good4U, said:

“Winning the support of the Western Development Commission, Enterprise Ireland and AIB has made our Sligo expansion possible. Underpinning our success is our ability to innovate and lead the market with products that meet and exceed consumer expectations. Today, more than ever, it is about building partnerships and aligning ourselves with people who believe and share our vision. A real measure of this has been the energy, courage, passion and commitment shown by all concerned in the negotiation process. The Good4U brand, combined with an excellent track record, loyal supportive customers and skilled staff will be instrumental in delivering our ambitious plans.  We are truly excited about this project and what the future holds”

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www.wdc.ie
www.good4u.ie

For further media information, please contact:
Lisa Buckley or Breda Brown, Unique Media
Tel: (353 1) 522 5200 or (353 87) 122 9774 (LB)

About Western Development Commission

The WDC’s Western Investment Fund (WIF) is a €32 million Evergreen Fund providing seed, venture capital and loan finance on a commercial basis to SMEs and Social Enterprises within the WDC area of Clare, Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Sligo and Roscommon.
The WIF has a very diverse portfolio across a range of sectors including medtech and lifesciences, cleantech, ICT, manufacturing and internationally traded services, creative industries, food, tourism and social and economic infrastructure.

MyCreativeEdge.eu: 300 creative profiles and 30,000 visits – Showcasing the West of Ireland’s creative businesses internationally

Monday, December 9th, 2013

The www.mycreativeedge.eu website has just hit a key milestone with 300 creative people and businesses now showcasing their work and talent on the site. And with 30,000 visits since its launch in June, there’s clearly a strong demand for the West’s creativity.

Developed by the Western Development Commission (WDC) through the inter-regional Creative Edge project, MyCreativeEdge is the ‘Creative Showcase for Europe’s Northern Edge’. Over half of the 300 creative businesses on the site are based in the West of Ireland with the rest from Northern Ireland, Sweden and Finland.

Online marketing of MyCreativeEdge has been focused at home and overseas. Ireland, the US and England are the main sources of visits with over 5,000 from the US alone, many from the West’s diaspora.

“We have long sought to connect the abundant creative talent we have here in the region with global markets and through working together we are moving nicely towards this goal” said Ian Brannigan, Head of Regional Development for the WDC. “With the onset of the Holiday season we hope this gives a nudge to those looking to purchase a locally inspired gift to do so via mycreativeedge.eu.”

You’ll find unique Christmas gift ideas on www.mycreativeedge.eu. Discover crafters of ceramics, toys, glass, wood, felt, furniture and home accessories, as well as visual artists, jewellers, photographers and fashion designers of all types.

So, for something truly original this Christmas, check out MyCreativeEdge. And if you’d like to showcase your talent internationally, sign up at www.mycreativeedge.eu/register to create your free online profile.

MyCreativeEdge was developed under the Northern Periphery Programme (NPP) funded Creative Edge project. For more details on the Creative Edge project visit www.creative-edge.eu.

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For more information contact:

Ian Brannigan, Head of Regional Development, WDC 086 604 8012 ianbrannigan@wdc.ie

Or

Pauline White, Policy Analyst WDC, 086 832 8055 paulinewhite@wdc.ie

WDC Chair gives update on organisation’s performance

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

What is the WDC?
In an era where acronyms are king, WDC stands for Western Development Commission.

So, what is the Western Development Commission?
The Western Development Commission is a statutory organisation which was set up in 1998. It operates under and reports to the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government. The general functions of the WDC are to ‘foster and encourage economic and social development in the Western Region’. Our remit covers the five counties in Connaught plus Donegal and Clare. In geographical terms the region encompasses 37% of the national land mass but only 18% of the national population. 68% of that 18% live outside of Gateway or Hub towns so it is clear that we are dealing with a predominately rural environment.

How is WDC Performing?
Broadly speaking the WDC has become the pre-eminent regional development agency in Ireland. Despite continued reductions in staff and finance we are performing well and delivering the goods. Since our inception we can claim to have influenced the creation or retention of 1,899 jobs.

In 2012 alone, an impressive total of 292 new jobs were created through WDC growth programmes.

Just a few examples of programmes launched in 2012: -

• Creative Industries Micro Loan Fund (€1m over 3 years) – This fund has supported over 60 jobs in its first year

• Regional tourism marketing plan (€1.4m) – This is a scheme initiated by WDC where several agencies have been brought together to market the region largely via Ireland West Airport Knock. The first year led to 13,000 new visitors delivering over €3m to the region’s economy

• Re-Connect Diaspora Programme (€23,000)- linking the region to the global diaspora. Initial events in the UK have led to over 40 new jobs e.g. Lafferty group investment in Mayo

• Creative Edge EU Export Growth Programme (€1.2m) – An innovative programme to help the region’s creative industry to access global markets. At time of launching the programme 66% of businesses in the sector had no contact with markets outside of Ireland. Today almost 200 businesses are linking to global customers through the www.mycreativeedge.eu website. We are aiming for hundreds of jobs in the near term and thousands by the end of the decade through this initiative.

• RASLRES Bio Tool Service Product Launch – contributing to an estimated 21 new businesses in the sector.

• On top of the foregoing recent initiatives, we have the on-going work of disbursing the Western Investment Fund. This fund has invested over €34m in 96 companies currently employing 1,600 people. These companies have paid over €43m in salaries and wages of which €11.8m has gone back to the national exchequer through payroll taxes.

• We continue to carry out strong policy and regional analysis which enables the state to invest in suitable “access infrastructure” to realise the regions potential for growth, e.g. energy, broadband and transport.

In summary, the WDC is a small yet highly dynamic and flexible organisation driven by a committed board working with highly motivated and professional staff. But there is a lot more that we need to undertake and achieve for the region. We are eager to take on that challenge. We are re-assured by having strong support from our national government and are confident of being given the additional resources which are required to play an expanded role in developing the region.

Further Information:

Ray McGreal, CEO
086 8125463

WDC Chairman Welcomes Reduced Fares on all Trains on Galway – Limerick Rail Line

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

The Chairman of the Western Development Commission, Paddy McGuinness, has welcomed the recent announcement by Iarnród Éireann of special promotional fares on the Galway – Limerick route. These promotional fares will offer great value for customers travelling by train between Limerick and Galway, with fares reduced by over 50% in some instances.

Iarnród Éireann operates five services a day each way on the route between Limerick and Galway. Services are operated by trains equipped with free wi-fi, and the schedule gives options to daily commuters, to leisure and to business users between the two cities. The company also plans to introduce online booking for services on the route in the coming weeks.

Mr. McGuinness also welcomed the opening of services at Oranmore Station. The station now hosts a total of 23 services daily including trains to Galway/Athenry/Limerick. The journey time between Galway and Oranmore is just seven minutes. There has been significant growth of 17% in the numbers of rail commuters between Athenry and Galway since the re-opening of the line in 2010. It is anticipated that the numbers availing of the services will grow further with the opening of Oranmore Station.

“WDC warmly welcomes the reduced fares and the additional options for travel between Galway and Limerick and we encourage people to avail of the services. We commend Iarnród Éireann for the recent initiatives and suggest that usage of the services would be further boosted if journey times were reduced and if inter-city rolling stock was used as recommended in last year’s Goodbody’s report” said Mr. McGuinness.

“We recognise the importance of rail, road, air and sea infrastructure. We realise that no region can compete for new jobs or hope for economic viability without good modern efficient connections to markets. The West of Ireland has, for too long, lagged behind in all four forms of transport. We will be working hard over the next few months on a campaign to convince both the EU and our own Government to put plans and resources in place to redress the current regional imbalance in infrastructure” concluded McGuinness.

For further information please contact:
Raymond McGreal CEO
Western Development Commission
0868125463

CALLS FOR 5TH ROUND APPLICATIONS FOR WDC MICRO-LOAN FUND:CREATIVE INDUSTRIES

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

The Western Development Commission (WDC) has launched its fifth call for funding applicants under its Micro-Loan Fund for Creative Industries. The fund has already had four very successful calls and has disbursed €160,000 to creative businesses in the Western Region and looks forward to increasing its disbursals into 2014.

The fund is a pilot initiative, allocating €1m over a three year period from the Western Investment Fund to the creative industries sector.

The Micro-Loan Fund will operate on a competitive ‘Call for Applications’ basis with four calls in 2013, the fourth of which is currently open. Loans of between €5,000 and €25,000 are available to successful applicants. Applications will be accepted from the first working day to the last working day of each quarter (March, June, September and December).

Ms Gillian Buckley, Investment Manager with the WDC said “The fund is designed to support creative industries which, based on extensive WDC research, is an area of burgeoning growth potential within the region. Access to finance is an issue for Creative Industries and, as such, the fund seeks to ameliorate this issue through the provision of a timely and appropriate funding mechanism. The initiative points to the WDC’s commitment to enterprise development, and its focus on regional sustainability and growth through employment, enterprise and export.”

Creative Industries are defined as “occupations and industries centered on creativity, for the production and distribution of original goods and services”.

The following 12 creative industries make up the creative sector and businesses from these sectors are eligible to apply: -

Advertising
Architecture
Art/Antiques trade
Crafts
Design
Digital media
Fashion
Internet and software
Music, visual and performing arts
Publishing
Radio and TV broadcasting
Video, film and photography

Further details at:  http://www.wdc.ie/microfundci/

Gillian Buckley, Investment Manager, Western Development Commission, 087 2236 982

Douglas Hyde Conference 2013

Friday, October 18th, 2013

On Friday 25th October the 2013, the Douglas Hyde Conference will take place in the BMW Conference Room, Dillon House, Ballaghaderreen for a one day event.

Roscommon County Council, supported by the Western Development Commission, once again brings together a number of leading thinkers, academics, commentators and speakers to discuss and debate this year’s theme of: Gathering Ourselves Again: the Legacy of Douglas Hyde, the Life and Death of the Irish Language

The Conference Convenor and Chair, Theo Dorgan, says: “The Douglas Hyde Conference has been, for many years, a source — an event where the key issues of the day and of the near future are raised and debated. This year we remember the role that the Irish language revival sparked by Douglas Hyde played in rebuilding national confidence, not just in the cultural but also in the political sphere. One hundred years after that cultural and political ferment, the Irish language is still a sore spot in the national psyche — hovering between extinction and revival, a goad to the conscience of some, a living medium of identity to others. There has been too much pious lip service to the language, and too much quiet despair. The Douglas Hyde Conference this year looks squarely and fearlessly at two key questions: is it time to let the language die a natural death, or is it possible to conceive a new strategy of pride in the language?

To drive this year’s debate we have assembled a panel of speakers notable for their passion, intelligence, and fearless imaginations. We see this event confronting a crucial element in the ongoing, urgent national debate about who we want to be as a people. This year we make a particular plea not just to language activists, Irish speakers and the academic community to come and be part of the debate, we also invite all those for whom the question of what it means to be Irish has become a key question as we struggle to recover from catastrophe.”

Date: Friday 25th October 2013Venue: BMW Conference Room, The Square, Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon. Time: 10.00 am to 5.00 pm (Registration from 9.00 am to 10.00am)

Trad. music in Spells Bar, Ballaghaderreen on Thursday 24th October and Friday 25th October.

Further details on www.roscommonarts.com or by contacting dhydeconference@roscommoncoco.ie  and to Mary Mullins at mmullins@roscommoncoco.ie

BIOPAD- DEVELOPING BIOENERGY SOLUTIONS FOR RURAL AREAS

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

WDC launches BioPAD- a European Bioenergy Project

Local bioenergy markets provide significant opportunities for rural and remote areas, stimulating the local economy creating jobs and keeping payments for energy within the local community. Using bioenergy improves security of energy supply and reduces CO2 emissions. Bioenergy is a renewable energy resource, which is derived from any organic material (biomass), including energy crops, wood, and organic waste.

In Donegal last week Joe McHugh, TD launched BioPAD- a bioenergy project focussing on the development of local bioenergy supply chains. “This project provides us with great opportunities to share experiences of bioenergy development with Scotland and Northern Ireland, and for us all to benefit from the significant expertise of Finland in the sector.” Deputy McHugh said last week, “I am particularly excited about the local benefits that bioenergy brings, keeping money in our local economy and providing jobs all along the supply chain.”

BioPAD (Bioenergy Proliferation and Deployment) is a multi-national European bio-energy project, funded by the Northern Periphery Programme which seeks to grow the number of local businesses involved in bioenergy, both as suppliers and users it led by the Western Development Commission (WDC), Ireland with partners in Finland, Scotland, and Northern Ireland,

The project focuses on the links between supply of fuel and demand for energy by analysing supply chains for a variety of bioenergy fuels and different ways of converting these fuels into sustainable energy.

“Understanding the supply chains and the ways bioenergy moves from fuel source to energy provision will help the establishment of robust and efficient supply services which can match local demand.” said Helen McHenry, the BioPAD project co-ordinator.

“We see BioPAD as a way of enabling rural areas to use their natural resources to create sustainable economic development and help Ireland reach emission’s targets in the process,” she added, “Jobs created in bioenergy are spread across the entire supply chain from private forest owners, to haulage companies, to plumbing, engineering, and electrical companies.”

BioPAD aims to gain a better understanding of the current status of regional biomass supply chains for a range of biomass types including wood products, energy crops, and agricultural wastes. The project will develop tools to enable users to source and use locally available biomass, across a range of appropriate technologies (anaerobic digestion, combustion, or micro combined heat and power (CHP)). The tools will highlight key steps along the supply chain for each fuel type or conversion method and will be available in a variety of formats (e.g. web, mobile and app).

Speaking last week at the project launch, Mr Paddy McGuinness, Chairperson of the WDC said: “The WDC is delighted to be leading the RASLRES project which goes to the heart of the local community by using local resources and local people to provide a complete solution for renewable energy. The project will stimulate growth in the renewable energy sector, which will benefit local communities by promoting their independence and sustainability and creating local jobs for future generations.”

If you are interested in bioenergy and would like to know more about BioPAD or are part of a bioenergy supply chain visit www.BioPAD.eu

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For more information contact:

Helen McHenry, BioPAD project co-ordinator, WDC 086 605 3264 helenmchenry@wdc.ie
Or
Ian Brannigan, Head of Regional Development, WDC 086 604 8012 ianbrannigan@wdc.ie

Official Launch of the Third Annual US/Ireland Legal and Business Symposium in Westport on September 25-27, 2013.

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

The third annual U.S./Ireland Legal Symposium of the Brehon Law Society was officially launched last week by the Western Development Commission and Mayo County Council on behalf of the Brehon Law Society of Philadelphia in the presence of Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and current UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region of Africa.

Taking place in Westport, Co. Mayo on September 25-27, 2013, the Symposium is being hosted by the Brehon Law Society of Philadelphia with the support of the Western Development Commission and Mayo County Council. Attendees will include Irish and American lawyers, business consultants and businesses operating in both Ireland and the United States.

The theme of the Symposium is ‘Doing Business in the U.S. / Ireland / Europe – Critical Legal Issues for U.S. and Irish Companies’. Attending the launch, Mary Robinson commented that the Symposium is a great opportunity to bring those interested in doing business in Ireland and the US together to explore collaborative opportunities and to look outward to new horizons and new opportunities.

Speaking on behalf of event sponsors National University of Ireland Galway, President Jim Browne said ‘NUI Galway is delighted to continue our association with the US/Ireland Legal Symposium. I look forward to welcoming delegates to the University during their visit and am pleased that many of my academic colleagues from Law, Business & Economics at NUI Galway will address the conference. In an increasingly competitive global market, we fully support this endeavor, which will further enhance economic, educational and social links between Ireland and the US.’

Peter Hynes, Mayo County Manager was delighted to host the launch in Foxford, saying that ‘Hosting a high profile legal symposium of this caliber in Westport is an ideal opportunity to showcase Co Mayo. The event will create an interactive and dynamic platform for delegates to explore potential business opportunities and provide an environment conducive to learning with a range of educational programs and dynamic speakers on cross-Atlantic legal issues.’

Paddy McGuinness, Chair of the Western Development Commission commenting on the event stated “This U.S./Ireland Legal Symposium is now becoming a part of the annual calendar, where the west of Ireland looks forward to inviting friends old and new to the region to discuss business in a truly exceptional environment. In the WDC we see this not only as an important part of showcasing the region internationally, but also to lay the groundwork for business growth and investment”.

The Western Development Commission and Mayo County Council were key players in bringing this Symposium to the West of Ireland once again in a move that dovetails with Government plans for trade, tourism and investment.

The event will take place over a three day period and will combine a mix of accredited classes with social and networking opportunities. Registration and sponsorship information is available at http://www.brehonsymposium.com.

Notes to editors about The Brehon Law Society

The name “Brehon” is anglicized from the Irish “breitheamh”. The word breitheamh is derived from the word breith, meaning “judgment”. The Brehon Laws are the oldest known European laws. The Brehons of ancient Ireland were wise men of the family who memorized and applied the laws to settle disputes among members of the family.

The Brehon Law Society is a professional association organized to foster the profession of law among individuals of Irish ancestry. The Society is comprised of Judges, lawyers and law students and their friends. Brehon was chosen as the original name of the Society when it was founded in Philadelphia in 1976 and had chapters in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

The Society provides forums for educational, cultural and social activities concerning Irish heritage and tradition. The Society also seeks to promote closer affiliations between the bench, the bar, students of law and the community, and to further a high standard of legal ethics.

Since the time the Society was founded, it has grown from a handful of lawyers to over hundreds of members with a chapter in Pittsburgh and has branches in law schools in the Delaware Valley area, including Villanova University School of Law, Temple University Beasley School of Law, Rutgers School of Law – Camden, Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law and Widener Law School (Delaware and Harrisburg Campuses).

The Society counts many past and present members of the judiciary among its members including Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille and Justice Seamus McCaffery of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

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Notes to editors about the Western Development Commission

The WDC is the statutory body promoting economic and social development in counties Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, Mayo, Galway and Clare.

The WDC’s strategic goals are:

1. Contribute to balanced regional development by ensuring that the Western Region maximises its full potential for economic and social development.

2. Promote the benefits of living, working and doing business in the Western Region.

3. Support the sustainable economic and social development of the rural economy.

4. Provide risk capital to SMEs and social enterprises.

www.wdc.ie and www.lookwest.ie

Notes to editors about Mayo County Council

Mayo County Council’s mission is to improve the quality of life for people living in Mayo and enhance the attractiveness of the County as a place to live in, work, enjoy and invest. While the people resident in the County are the Council’s primary responsibility the Council is also concerned with the well being and development of Mayo communities globally.

County Mayo is served by 31 County Councillors elected from six electoral areas within the county. These Councillors oversee the Mayo County government which carries out the policies of both the state and local governments.

Although based in Castlebar, the County Council services the entire county through a series of Area Offices located in nine towns across the county.

The County Council is responsible for providing a number of services to the county, including protecting the environment, fire protection, agricultural services, planning, road maintenance, enhancing the cultural and artistic life of the community, tax collection and licensing and maintaining refuse infrastructure.   www.mayococo.ie

Notes to editors about NUI Galway

NUI Galway is one of Ireland’s foremost centers of academic excellence. Over 17,000 students undertake an extensive range of studies at the University, which is renowned for the quality of its graduates. NUI Galway is a research-led University with internationally recognized expertise in areas including Biomedical Science and Engineering, Web Science, Human Rights, Marine Science, Energy and Environmental Science, Applied Social Sciences and Public Policy, and Humanities, in particular literature, theatre and Irish Studies. For more information visit www.nuigalway.ieBrehon_Symposium_Launch_Image1.

Brehon_Symposium_Launch_Image2

MyCreativeEdge – The Creative Showcase for Europe’s Northern Edge WDC launches new website to promote the West of Ireland’s creative sector

Monday, July 15th, 2013

The creative sector in the West of Ireland has the potential to generate an estimated €338 million in sales by 2020. Employing around 11,000 people, job numbers have the potential to grow substantially if small creative businesses are supported to increase exports of their creative products and services. So the Western Development Commission (WDC) has just launched ‘MyCreativeEdge – The Creative Showcase for Europe’s Northern Edge’. The new website www.mycreativeedge.eu showcases the creative work of businesses, freelancers and jobseekers from the West of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Sweden and Finland.

‘On MyCreativeEdge people working or looking for work in the creative sector in the West of Ireland can showcase their creativity in a highly visual way,’ said Paddy McGuinness, WDC Chairperson. ‘They can create their own profile page which has a slideshow of images and videos of their creative work at its heart. And there’s no cost involved.’

‘Marketing and sales budgets can be very tight for small businesses at the moment. Members of MyCreativeEdge will benefit from an international digital marketing campaign being run by the WDC and targeting potential customers in Ireland, the US, the UK and across Europe. Individuals or businesses wanting to contract a creative service like graphic design, photography, architecture or audio-visual services or to purchase creative products like crafts, jewellery or art will find MyCreativeEdge a great resource. The diaspora are a key target market,’ according to Ian Brannigan, Head of Regional Development with the WDC.

‘MyCreativeEdge will help increase exports from creative businesses which will help sustain and create jobs across the region’ he added. ‘Creative sector jobseekers can also create a profile on MyCreativeEdge to showcase their portfolio to potential employers.’

Among those who’ve joined already is Sligo-based audio services company All Points West, Donegal-based textile artist koko designs, Roscommon-based multimedia company Black Hole Studio, Clare-based trans-disciplinary artist Maria Kerin, Mayo-based Cox Power Architects, Galway-based photographer Reg Gordon and Leitrim-based graphic designer Reverb Studios.

If you’re involved in the creative sector and want to showcase your work for free, visit www.mycreativeedge.eu to become a member. MyCreativeEdge has been developed under the Northern Periphery Programme funded Creative Edge project. The other partner organisations are the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, Craigavon Borough Council, Film i Västerbotten (Sweden) and Kemi-Tornio University of Applied Sciences (Finland).

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For more information contact:

Ian Brannigan, Head of Regional Development, WDC 086 604 8012 ianbrannigan@wdc.ie
Or
Pauline White, Policy Analyst WDC, 086 832 8055 paulinewhite@wdc.ie

Western Development Commission partners with the Crafts Council of Ireland to fund Western Region Craftspeople in attending International Trade Fairs during 2013

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

The Western Development Commission (WDC) is delighted to be partnering with the Crafts Council of Ireland (CCoI) this year to co-fund CCoI’s International Fair Fund. The fund was initially established by CCoI in 2011 and this is the first time that there has been a collaboration with a partner agency, facilitating greater access to export markets for craft businesses.

Following the evaluation of applications to the fund earlier this year, five craft enterprises based in the Western Region were successful in securing funding – Foxford Woollen Mills, the Sligo-based jeweller Martina Hamilton, Molloy & Sons Weaving from Donegal, the Clay Pipe Centre in county Roscommon who produce a range of Irish gifts and Mayo-based Lisibach Marble. They will be supported to attend fairs in locations such as the UK, US, France and Germany during 2013.

Paddy McGuinness, Chairperson of the WDC said ‘We’re delighted that these five craft businesses represent such a broad range of crafts and skills from across our region. The strong weaving tradition in Donegal and Mayo for clothing and home is well represented, while the Clay Pipe Centre and Lisibach Marble both draw on the region’s natural assets and strengths through their ‘bog buddies’ and Connemara marble jewellery. Cufflinks designed by Martina Hamilton and inspired by WB Yeats’ poetry were presented by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny to President Obama on St. Patrick’s Day, bringing the creativity and culture of the West to international attention.’

Karen Hennessy, CEO, Crafts Council of Ireland adds ‘We see the International Fair Fund as an effective way of encouraging and facilitating craft export. Identifying and targeting an international market can be a daunting task for any business – and having the support of a fund such as this can enable craft enterprises to approach a new market with confidence. Having the WDC partner with us this year to increase the impact of this fund is a very positive development for the craft sector in the West of Ireland.’

The WDC is actively supporting the development of the Western Region’s creative sector, through the International Fair Fund, the WDC Micro-Loan Fund: Creative Industries and the website www.mycreativeedge.eu which was launched recently under the EU-funded Creative Edge project. ‘From talking to creative people in the region we know that trade fairs are vital, especially for crafts where people need to see and touch before buying,’ says Pauline White, Policy Analyst, WDC. ‘This can be complemented by creating a profile on our new www.mycreativeedge.eu website which showcases the creative work of businesses, freelancers and graduates from the West of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Sweden and Finland.’

For further information please contact:

Pauline White, Policy Analyst, Western Development Commission, 086 832 8055

Note to editors:

Further information and images for the five craft businesses to be supported can be found at

Foxford Woollen Mills http://www.foxfordwoollenmills.com/
Molloy & Sons Weaving http://www.molloyandsons.com/
Martina Hamilton http://www.martinahamilton.ie/
Clay Pipe Centre http://www.oghamwish.com/bogbuddies.php
Lisibach Marble Products http://www.lisibach.ie/