Friday, April 29th – 9.00am to 1.30pm
Theatre Royal, The Mall, Waterford X91 HE9R

Waterford : Ireland’s Best Place to Live – A Celebration & Exploration

In 2021, The Irish Times launched its search for the Best Place to Live in Ireland and Waterford was announced as the overall winner.

Members of the public were invited to nominate their favourite place to live and over six weeks more than 2,400 entries for 470 locations were received. After being shortlisted in the Top five, a panel of judges visited Waterford, along with Clonakilty in Co Cork, Galway city, Glaslough in Co Monaghan and Killarney in Co Kerry.

Each place was judged on broad criteria including natural amenities, buildings, community initiatives and spirit, presence of clubs and societies, good local services, transport links, employment opportunities, diversity, the price of property and housing supply, and cost of living.

Emerging as the Irish Times Best Place to Live in Ireland is a wonderful endorsement of Waterford as a great city, with strong community ties, a rich arts and culture scene, a high calibre talent pool and a bright future.

This event is a celebration and exploration of what makes Waterford Ireland’s Best Place to Live, from those who live here, work here, play here & invest here!

Running Order

9.00am – 9.30am Registration / Tea and Coffee
9.30am – 10.15am “Our Burgeoning Talent Pool” – Education and Enterprise panel
Facilitated by David McWilliams, Economist, Author and Columnist, THE IRISH TIMES
Professor Willie Donnelly is the President of Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) having held the position of Head of Research and Innovation at the Institute for the previous 10 years. During those 10 years, he secured in excess of €100m in research funding for institute. He established the WIT ArcLabs Research & Innovation Centre in 2005 a unique research and innovation platform combining world-class research, entrepreneurial training and business development, and high potential start-ups.

Ruth Beadle is Head of Global Supply Chain (Ad Interim) at Sanofi, the global healthcare company who employ almost 800 people at their Waterford campus and 100,000 globally. Ruth has previously led clusters of manufacturing sites in China, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy and Russia.  In February 2022, she was appointed by the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science to the first governing body of the Technological University of the South East.

Richie Walsh is Head of Enterprise at Local Enterprise Office Waterford. In 2021 Local Enterprise Office Waterford financially supported 280 small businesses in their portfolio across the county with these companies in turn employing 1,199 people.

10.15am – 11am “Our Sustainable Future”
Facilitated by Kevin O’Sullivan, Environment and Science Editor, THE IRISH TIMES
Fergus Galvin is Director of Services Waterford City and County Council.  In keeping with its designation as Ireland’s Best Place To Live, Waterford is intent on being the first in Ireland to achieve climate neutrality.  The ambition for the Waterford Decarbonising Zone is that City will work towards achieving Net Zero Carbon emissions across every level in society and all sectors in the local economy by 2040 with a range of real-life initiatives to manage the transition from a fossil fuel based local economy to carbon Net Zero.

Colin Jephson is Managing Director of Ardkeen Quality Food Store.  Ardkeen has successfully differentiated itself in a crowded marketplace and built strong customer loyalty through championing Irish artisan and locally produced foods together with an emphasis on investing in new technologies and innovations to reduce its carbon footprint, increase sustainability and support small scale food production.

Frank Ronan was appointed Chief Executive of Port of Waterford in 2015. Port of Waterford is the State Commercial Company charged with the operation and development of Waterford Port.  Waterford Port is committed to unlocking the true potential of the South East region of Ireland, through bringing Waterford people and communities closer to the world through trade, economic development and sustainable growth.

11am – 11.30am Tea / Coffee / Pastries served in Vestibule of the Theatre Royal
11.30am – 12.15pm “Culture, Community & Connectedness”
  Facilitated by Jennifer O’ Connell, Columnist, THE IRISH TIMES
  Katherine Collins is Waterford Cultural Quarter (WCQ) Project Manager and Creative Ireland-Waterford Coordinator. She has worked with Waterford Libraries and on the Three Sisters 2020 European Capital of Culture Bid.  Katherine has a specific remit to connect people and places through creative community engagement. In her role in the WCQ she works on culture-based urban regeneration initiatives in the O’Connell Street area of Waterford City.

Kamila Bystrzorowska is originally from Krakow and arrived in Waterford in 2003. Along with her husband Harry, Kamila runs the award-winning Momo restaurant on Patrick Street in Waterford City which has been described in The McKenna’s Restaurant Guide as “the most exciting restaurant to open in Waterford City for quite some time.”

T.V. Honan is Director of Waterford Spraoi. The company is a national leader in Irish street arts. At home in Waterford Spraoi has fired the imaginations of a generation. 2022 will be the 30th Spraoi Festival.

12.15pm – 1pm “Getting the Balance Right”
  Michael Walsh, Chief Executive, Waterford City & County Council in conversation with Conor Goodman, Managing Editor, THE IRISH TIMES
  Michael Walsh began his career in Local Government with Waterford County Council in 1983 and worked between there and Limerick City Council for a number of years at various engineering posts until 2000 when he was appointed as Senior Executive Engineer in Waterford City Council. From there he progressed to the post of Director of Services and became Waterford City Manager in November, 2007. In June 2014, Michael was appointed Chief Executive of the newly amalgamated Waterford City and County Council.
  Followed by presentation of IRISH TIMES BEST PLACE TO LIVE AWARD to Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. Joe Kelly.
  Lunch served in Garden Room in Waterford’s Medieval Museum from 1pm.

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How we help.
We can provide investment support and advice on doing business in Waterford. We facilitate introductions to economic development agencies, private industry, academia and government.