‘The road to recovery opens ahead. It is time to revitalise and repair. In many cases, it is time to rescue and renew. Looking back at where we stood in the first quarter of 2020, Ireland is now a very different place. In addition to enduring the wrath of Covid restrictions and Lockdowns, we must also factor in the changes to our economy that took place as a result of Brexit. To an undetermined extent, the full impact of Brexit has been masked by Covid. While the two hit in tandem, Covid will pass, Brexit is here to stay’ he said.
‘Throughout the course of the pandemic, a lot has changed in businesses across the country. Technology has not just been more widely embraced, it is now a way of life for more people than ever before. ‘Smart Working’ has become the new normal. Initially this meant existing staff working from home for health and safety reasons. Now it means that employers realise that their talent base does not need to be within the catchment area of their business. Employers can now cast their net much further afield. Working from home will remain the choice of many, even when businesses are fully re-opened.
‘Many businesses will also choose to continue using this ‘Smart Working’ model. With the increased emphasis on Climate Action it will assist in reducing our carbon footprint by keeping commuters off the roads. It will make living outside large urban areas more attractive and spread the urgent need for additional housing across the country, thereby making delivery of housing units more achievable.
‘We have an obligation to ensure that High Speed Broadband is rolled out rapidly to every corner of our small country. Progress is being made on Broadband services across the country, but as we emerge from the Pandemic, significant provision in budgeting must be continued to ensure that a lack of service is not a deterrent to recovery in any area of our country.
‘Regions outside the country’s cities and large towns have suffered enormously throughout this Pandemic. As well as the business and retail closures that impacted everywhere, regional Ireland has lost all tourism and its associated revenue. It will take our smaller towns and villages a much longer to claw their way back from the economic ravages of Covid’ he concluded.