By Carmel Hayes
A GLASS was raised to the success of Laois enterprises when a junior minister visited a local brewery yesterday.
Award-winning Ballykilcavan Brewing Company was the appropriate venue for a celebratory toast, during Minister Damien English’s tour of businesses in the county.
The minister of state for business, employment and retail called to the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) at County Hall in Portlaoise, before visiting a variety of LEO client companies. He also made a presentation to Salutem Insights, the 2022 Laois County Enterprise award winner.
The minister was welcomed to County Hall by Laois County Council chief executive John Mulholland, acting head of enterprise Honor Deevy. county cathaoirleach cllr Conor Bergin, cathaoirleach of Portlaoise Municipal District cllr Thomasina Connell, Laois Chamber President Alison Browne and Laois Chamber chief executive Caroline Hofman. He was briefed about developments in the county as well as future plans, as he met with the LEO team, members of the evaluation committee and local authority members.
The next stop was Portlaoise Enterprise Centre, where the minister visited LEO client company TSI Flowmeters Ltd. The firm has over 20 years’ experience in providing innovative water management solutions to a wide range of customers, including water utilities and fire services.
Minister English rounded off the tour with a visit to LEO client Ballykilcavan Brewing Company, which was set up by David Walsh-Kemmis in 2016 and started brewing beer in 2018. The beers are distributed all over Ireland and the company is developing a visitor centre.
A number of food producers from the Laois Taste Group also visited Ballykilcavan, including The Merry Mill, Temptation Patisserie and Mueller and O’Connell Bakery.
Minister English said it was ‘really noteworthy’ how local communities are recognising strengths and business opportunities in their own areas and are seeking to make the most of them.
He said: “There is plenty of potential in Laois and, through working closely with the LEOs and availing of other Government supports and initiatives, businesses across a range of sectors here can flourish, creating more employment in the county.
“Our LEOs are hugely important to businesses and their role has been invaluable over the last couple of years. Their knowledge of local businesses and close contact with them is vital in providing that all-important support and assistance. Whether it is advice, training or mentoring or other practical assistance, the LEOs can help local businesses to develop and to realise their true potential.”