With local and European elections right around the corner and a General Election potentially towards the end of the year, now is the time to hammer home the lobbying agendas. 

Waterford Chamber is in regular contact with Senior Ministers and Oireachtas members, putting forward ideas and solutions that will go a long way towards delivering for Waterford and the wider region.
Over the past month, we have increased our lobbying efforts and invited several Department Secretary Generals to Waterford to meet with business community representatives. 
Housing is always a top ticket item, so we were delighted when Waterford native Graham Doyle kicked off our Political Lunch Series and acknowledged the challenges and opportunities across the city and county. 
We also had the pleasure of hosting David Moloney, Department of Public Expenditure and John Hogan, Department of Finance. During this meeting Gerald Hurley, CEO Waterford Chamber, presented on the current economic climate and the opportunities for development going forward, while Michael Quinn, Waterford City & County Council, showed an overview of the North Quays Project. David Sinnott, CEO of the Port of Waterford, also outlined ambitious plans and the need for funding as we move towards developing the Waterford City Region as a centre for excellence in energy. 
Other topics included the cost of doing business, using part of the National Training Fund surplus to support parents of neurodiverse children and the importance of equitable funding for SETU. 
Next up was Declan Huges of the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Employment, who was also given an overview of the economic climate in Waterford. Georgina Carpendale, Fitzgerald Power, presented on the cost of doing business, drawing from a white paper document produces by the Waterford-based accountancy firm, while Lynda Lawton, Waterford Chamber, spoke on the work being done in partnership with Autism Friendly Waterford, Waterford Area Partnership and other stakeholders, in creatin a more inclusive working environment for our neurodiverse community. 
The series concluded with a meeting with Ken Spratt, Department of Transport, where topics such as Waterford Airport, the Port of Waterford, the N24, city centre traffic management and public transport were discussed. 
Commenting after the meetings, Gerald Hurley, CEO Waterford Chamber said: “Department Secretary Generals are key influencers in terms of policy and decision making. They were very keen to engage, certainly took points on board and argued back where necessary. Further correspondence with each of our guests post the meetings showed they now having a deeper understanding of the ambitions in Waterford and we look forward to strengthening those relationships. A new Government may be ahead of us, but there is a lot can be done in the interim, and thanks to our members who attended the meetings, the Waterford agenda is now very much to the fore in each of these Departments.”