30/11/2001

Digital corridor to link Armagh and Monaghan

Enterprise agencies in Monaghan and Armagh are collaborating to build two new Technology Clusters that will create a “digital corridor” between the counties.

Monaghan County Enterprise Fund - in partnership with Monaghan County Enterprise Board (MCEB) and various development agencies - are building a technology centre at Knockaconey in Monaghan, designed to facilitate the growth of technology companies in the county. This site – known as M Tek – will liase with another technology centre - A Tek – which will be based in Armagh.

The Monaghan Centre is due to be finished in January 2002 and already has three technology companies signed up to re-locate to the centre. It is hoped that the move will bring sustainable employment to the Monaghan / Armagh area, and that the creation of such a ‘digital corridor’ will call a halt to the technology brain drain that has long afflicted the region.

"In the past, County Monaghan and County Armagh have relied very heavily on agriculture to provide employment,” commented John McEntegart, Secretary of Monaghan County Enterprise Fund and CEO of Monaghan County Enterprise Board.

“Young people who trained in computer related areas automatically looked for jobs in Dublin or Belfast or even went further afield, by creating technology clusters in the two counties we are encouraging them to stay or even attracting them back home. Everyone must realise that Information Technology is here to stay and that it has applications in every aspect of every business."

Local education and training institutions North and South of the border have pledged their commitment to providing courses and training programmes tailored to the needs of technology business. They include Queen’s University and the T&EA in Armagh, the Institute of Technologies in Dundalk and Dublin, FÁS and Monaghan Vocational Education Committee.

This is the first time ever that two councils from two different jurisdictions have filled out a joint application for funding for a business venture, and one that also forms part of the National Plan in the Republic and Northern Ireland’s Programme for Government.

"Ultimately we see the Armagh Monaghan Digital Corridor as another way of fostering better relationships in business, education and politically on both sides of the border", added John McEntegart. (CL)

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