Taoiseach launches North Kildare Chamber strategy at Punchestown

Taoiseach Enda Kenny gamely dodged donning the Lilywhite jersey at Punchestown this afternoon as he launched the North Kildare Chamber county strategy.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny gamely dodged donning the Lilywhite jersey at Punchestown this afternoon as he launched the North Kildare Chamber county strategy.

Despite being told the plan, which sets out a business and cultural vision for the county up to 2015, involves Kildare folk “putting on the county jersey” for the greater good, the Mayo man couldn’t be persuaded to effect a transfer when invited. Instead he gingerly held the jersey aloft for snappers and grinned as Kildare politicians and businesspeople piled in behind him in for a team photograph.

The plan is the culmination of months of work by a team of local companies and organisations, led by the North Kildare Chamber board. It sets out a number of project in the areas of marketing, tourism and promotion, business and IT, lifestyle and culture, business ervices, education and research and ‘optimising Kildare’s distinctive capabilities’. Those involved say these can be achieved in the next three years in order to boost the county’s economy.

The Taoiseach was presented with a copy of the plan by Chamber president Eilis Quinlan shortly after 4.30pm this afternoon during his visit to the Punchestown festival.

He addressed a crowd of around 200 invited guests, who included local TDs and business people, in the North Kildare Chamber marquee.

The Taoiseach described the plan as a combination of aspirations and credible plans to achieve those aims. But he warned the North Kildare Chamber members that their work is now only beginning.

“Talking documents are no good,” he said, adding “this is not the first one of these strategy documents I have received. They will never happen unless someone accepts responsibility for them and puts them into action”.

Mr Kenny also paid tribute during his speech to the “Punchestown Pumpers” who worked overnight to clear the racetrack of a deluge of rainwater.

The crowds were up in number at Punchestown today, despite the delayed racecard due to the adverse conditions, and conditions brightened in the late afternoon.

Kilrush girl Maria Osborne made it three-in-a-row for locals as she claimed the daily Best Dressed Lady prize in a stunning bright blue coat dress. She follows Athy woman Naoise Pelin’s win on the first day and Ballitore’s Louise Keatley’s victory yesterday.

All three will contest the grand finale of the Best Dressed Lady competition tomorrow.

In other news off the track today, the Ladbroke’s Speed Dating event went ahead, but didn’t contest for the world record due to the conditions.

For more on the North Kildare Chamber Strategic Plan 2012 - 2015, see next week’s Leinster Leader

- Laura Coates