Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Michael Walsh,

Chief Executive,

Waterford City and County Council.

As the South East’s largest urban area, Waterford is a key driver for the growth of the region.

Having been identified in the National Planning Framework as the principal urban centre and the economic engine for the region, Waterford, traditionally renowned as an industrial centre, has evolved and is attracting global tech and pharma companies and talent.

While we retain a strong manufacturing sector with an impressive global reach, the diversity of sectors means that more overseas tech, pharma, and life science companies are choosing Waterford.

As Ireland’s largest city region with 635,000 people within a 60-minute catchment, the city offers a real counterbalance to Dublin, particularly considering its connectivity, infrastructure and specialist talent.

The recent announcement of Government approval for €170.6m of investment in the Waterford North Quays Infrastructure Project heralds a game-changing era for Waterford’s future economic development, along with its environmental, tourism, retail, and cultural sectors.

The introduction of the region’s first technological university, SETU, in May of last year, provides a strong academic talent pipeline of 15,000 students, with 5,000 graduating annually, with a robust focus on STEM.

Manufacturing, Engineering and Industrial Technologies have long been a cornerstone of the Waterford City regional economy, employing over 31,000 people and helping Waterford City Region become the economic power that it is today.  Manufacturing and engineering matters to Waterford and remains a vital element of the region’s economic health.

This is evidenced by the global companies that have made Waterford their home.  Companies such as Bausch & Lomb, West Pharma, Teva, Jabil Healthcare, Eurofins Scientific, GSK, Eirgen/Opka, Sanofi, Nearform and many others continue to thrive, while announcements by blue chip companies such as Horizon, Repligen, Infosys BPM and others of first time investments in Waterford are a further affirmation of the potential of the City and the region as a location of choice and will contribute to creating an even more sustainable critical mass for employees and employers alike.

Waterford City Region is one of the most vibrant digital clusters in the country and the sector continues to build on its tech history, driving employment and innovation in the city. The sector supports over 6,000 employees and benefits from a strong talent pool of students in higher education.

The ICT ecosystem in the Southeast is populated with a complete support network including the TSSG research centre of excellence, Crystal Valley Tech Cluster, Suir Capital Ventures, the tech accelerator at Arc Labs and the NDRC.

The Waterford City region has an internationally renowned reputation for Life Sciences and is home to one of the largest national clusters in pharmaceutical and medical device companies in the country. The sector supports over 10,000 employees in the region and benefits from a strong talent pool of over 2,500+ students currently studying natural sciences, mathematics, and statistics and a further 4,300+ studying health and welfare.

The success of the Waterford City Region as a national hot spot for the location of Life Science companies can in part be attributed to the growth in specialised support services such as engineering consultants and project managers, facilities management, clean room providers, specialist recruitment agencies, tailored educational courses, etc.

Furthermore, IDA also has utility-rich strategic sites available for large scale development in the region. In addition, Lifesciences companies are supported in their research, development, and innovation practices by the presence of several centres of excellence.

In Financial and Professional Business Services, Waterford City Region is home to one of the largest financial services’ cluster in the country and has a strong reputation in banking, corporate finance, insurance, contact centre, shared services and has strong activity in the future growth sectors of Fintech/Insurtech/Regtech and the global payments sector.

To allow the area to continue to retain confidence and attract new investment in these sectors, the region is heavily investing in creative and digital office spaces providing the fastest available speeds and secure data exchange, allowing businesses to attract and service clients successfully on a global scale from the South-East of the country.

Waterford has faster average broadband speeds than anywhere outside of Dublin. Furthermore, under the National Broadband Plan there will be an addition a €59m has been invested in Waterford with the continued rollout of a new high-speed fibre network and FTTH.

To this end, while Waterford is strategically investing in economic activities such as land, buildings and commerce, transportation, digital infrastructure, and Centres of Excellence to drive the growth of the economy, it is equally investing in non-economic well-being components, such as health, education, socio-emotional skills, environmental, quality of life and childcare.

These elements capture people’s opportunities to improve well-being and to participate in the economy and society and ultimately in combination with core economic activities will drive productivity within organisations.

In a recent relocation survey 95% of people say they have a better work/life balance since moving to the Waterford City Region with 64% saying they now commute to work in less than 20 minutes and 77% of respondents would recommend relocating to the region.

It’s hard to argue with.

Waterford lends itself to a prime location for living, working, and investing.  A city centre brought to life by world-class spaces of unique character, a phenomenal heritage and back-story that is interpreted to the very highest standards in our museums and a cutting-edge arts and culture scene.

All of this is complemented by wonderful natural amenities, picture postcard town and villages, stunning coastlines and an impressive mountain range.

We are proud to be Ireland’s Oldest city. We are proud to be the Best Place to Live in Ireland.






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