MR Paddy Matthews is the new president of Dundalk Chamber of Commerce.
He has taken over from Paddy Malone and for the next two years he will be leading the chamber’s campaigns on issues such as jobs, tourism, Vat rates and the Narrow Water Bridge project.
He will also continue the chamber’s engagement with Louth County Council, Dundalk Town Council, BIDS, DkIT, Enterprise Ireland and IDA.
Just last week he attended an Oireachtas Good Friday Agreement Implementation committee meeting
which focused on the delay in implementing the Narrow Water Bridge project.
The meeting was also attended by members of Warrenpoint Chamber of Commerce.
This project could deliver 270 jobs in the construction sector and other sectors and a legacy for economic development for decades to come, especially in tourism.
The finance is in place and ready to go, but things are being held up in the North and in the DUP Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has limited time to agree to this on this very beneficial project.
The project is has been in the pipeline for some time and the EU has recognised the importance of the project and has put up 18 million euro towards its completion.
“This project could create enormous tourism potential for this region,” said Paddy. This bridge is unique.
“Not only will it join economies and communities, it will also attract visitors from abroad.”
As proprietor of Matthews Coaches he has first-hand experience of how this entire region can be developed as a tourism centre.
His company is already bringing people from colleges in the United States to the region so this emphasis on tourism is not a pipe-dream.
“We can develop the crafts, retail and hotel industry in the region,” said Paddy. “Dundalk was a manufacturing town and never had to develop its tourism potential.
“We left all that to Kerry and others. But now we must use the assets we have. By working with DkIT, FAS and the VEC Dundalk Chamber can help create jobs for school-leavers and make a real difference to our society.
So that was one of Paddy’s first steps as chamber president: make sure that this bridge is built, jobs are created and benefits are delivered to all in our community.
He is also keen that the chamber continues its role in community involvement, such the organising of the St Patrick’s Day parade and the National Tidy Towns competition.
Chamber membership has increased over the past year despite the downturn in business.
The chamber is in the process of drawing up a strategic plan for the next three years and beyond and Paddy has invited members to discuss this or any other matters with him and invited those businesses that are not members of Dundalk chamber to join.
Paddy is supported by Holly Dance, the chamber’s vice-president, and Prometric’s Vice President of Test Development Operations.
A very experienced leadership indeed.