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Regions in Focus 2023 event to shed light on regional development and challenges. 


The Association of Irish Regions (AIR) event will see a host of leading academics and industry experts, senior Government Department and Government agency officials gather for workshops, seminars and training from February 7-9th at the Four Seasons Hotel in Coolshannagh, Co. Monaghan.

The event brings together leading figures from industry, academia, and policymaking, as well as representatives from all three regional assemblies, to hear their perspectives on the big challenges facing Ireland’s regions, including climate change, the transition to low carbon society, regional economies and also how regional delivery of Government policy is happening through the work of the Regional Assemblies.

Attendees will hear about the growing importance of regional development, while journalist and climate activist John Gibbons will deliver a keynote speech on the role regions can play in safeguarding the environment, boosting biodiversity, and helping Ireland achieve its emissions targets.

OECD regional economist Michael Flood will also address the event. Mr Flood is one of a larger contingent from the OECD who will be on hand to launch a report on Ireland’s regional attractiveness.

Other speakers include Dr Brian Caulfield, expert in sustainable transport from Trinity College Dublin, Paul Hogan, Acting Assistant Secretary at the Department of Housing, Niall Cussen, OPR and Dr Brian McCann, leading transport engineer and lecturer at the Atlantic Technological University specialising in rural connectivity, Declan Hughes, Assistant Secretary DETE, Anne Graham, NTA, and many more.

There will be seminars on emerging EU policy and funding opportunities, breakout sessions to test ideas and panel discussions with presentations from representatives of Interreg programmes.

Newstalk radio presenter Jonathan Healy host the event which is sponsored by IPB Insurance and supported by the Northern & Western, Eastern & Midland and Southern Regional Assemblies.

A full schedule of speakers and training events is available on the event’s website www.irishregions.ie.

David Kelly, Director of the Southern Regional Assembly, said “Over the last number of years we have worked consistently for the betterment of the entire Southern Region with our efforts having increased robustness and enabled us to be better able to handle change and crises such as Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine. “Events such as Regions in Focus 2023 give us the opportunity to build on work underway and towards a future proofed region, through meeting with lawmakers and leading experts in industry and academia, to exchange ideas about how to improve the prospects of our respective regions for the benefit of the whole economy. We’re pleased to have attracted such a stellar list of speakers and believe their expertise is vital to our mission of taking our regions forward as leaders in sustainability, innovation, education, and learning.”

Cllr Pip Breen, Cathaoirleach of the Association of Irish Regions said: “At Regions in Focus we will be discussing the current and future challenges facing all of our regions in Ireland, including climate change, changing demographics, sustainable transport and development, and our transition to renewable energy sources to help deepen of understanding of the issues affecting our region as well as the potential for solutions.”

The Chair of conference sponsors IPB Insurance, George Jones, said: “As the mutual insurer to Ireland’s local authorities and regional assemblies, we are delighted to be associated with this important conference that addresses the challenges facing Ireland’s regions but also how these can be addressed. I congratulate the Association of Irish Regions for creating a platform for discussion on these topical and important issues, focusing on solutions and creating new opportunities for sustainable growth and prosperity.”