Minister Higgins visits Local Enterprise office in Waterford

Minister of State for Employment Affairs and Retail Business, Emer Higgins T.D., visited the Waterford Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) last Thursday May 2nd.

This was the Minister’s first visit to a Local Enterprise Office. On arrival the Minister was greeted by Deputy Mayor, Declan Doocey, Head of Enterprise, Gareth Evans and Senior Enterprise Development Officer Jacqui Gaule. The Minister was then introduced to council officials and members of the LEO team as well as some of their client companies.

Minister Higgins said:
“I am delighted to visit the Waterford Local Enterprise Office and meet with the LEO teams and their clients. This is my first opportunity to visit a Local Enterprise Office as Minister for State and it is a pleasure to see the hard work that is happening on the ground and to see first hand the work the LEOs and the Department are doing to support these businesses."

The Minister was then introduced to LEO clients who were invited in to showcase their businesses. Mark Bergin of Coffeehouse Lane explained how they sell their own artisan manufactured, ethically sourced premium hand-roasted coffee through independent retail stores, the food service sector and SuperValu. Coffeehouse Lane were the winners of a Waterford Glas Awards in 2023.

Minister Higgins then met Stephanie Wickham of ExPat Ltd., who specialise in international tax advice across multiple jurisdictions. ExPat Taxes were the overall winner of the LEO Waterford Digital Awards in 2023 and will represent Waterford at this year’s National Enterprise Awards which are taking place in the Mansion House later this month.

The Minister was introduced to silversmith Gene O’Shea who specialises in quality, handmade pure silver jewellery. Each piece is designed and created by Gene and is hallmarked at Dublin Castle.

Minister Higgins then spoke with Tony Hayes of the Irish Handmade Glass Company. They specialise in coloured, mouth blown and hand-cut crystal and their products range from tableware to lighting and decorative ornaments to jewellery. They also work with leading companies designing corporate awards and gifts for events.

The Minister met with Keith Molloy of Molloy’s Butchers Ardkeen, also a winner at the 2023 Waterford Glas Awards. The company deliver produce in reusable crates with no single use cardboard or plastics accepted with all packaging either 100% home compostable or infinitely recyclable. Molloy’s encourage their customers to bring their own reusable containers and offer an incentive of 25% off to encourage this practice.

Minister Higgins then spoke with Dermot Harrington and Ken O’Shea of Reso Health. The company are developing a platform to provide precision nutrition for professionals in the workplace. This platform will combine an onsite dispenser with an employee-controlled app to deliver a range of nutritional supplements targeted specifically to the user.

The Minister finished her visit with a short walk to Strong Roots Jewellery where she met owner Michelle Dunne, an artist and metalworker who creates bespoke jewellery. Using the Celtic Tree Calendar as her inspiration her jewellery is based on the strong roots that shape us, nature, family, friends and hobbies.

On the conclusion of her visit, Minister Higgins said:

“The hard work of the LEO office here in the Waterford can be seen in every business I have met today. It is fantastic to see that the strategy of my Department and the LEO Network has helped create an environment in which these business can thrive."