Drive to attract investment to Shannon Estuary region

Six strategic development locations identified in Clare, Kerry and Limerick

A new marketing drive promoting deep water marine investment opportunities along the Shannon Estuary is being undertaken by stakeholders engaged in the development and management of Ireland’s largest and deepest estuary.

The region’s local authorities, namely Clare County Council, Kerry County Council and Limerick City & County Council, have joined with IDA Ireland, Shannon Commercial Properties and Shannon Foynes Port Company in producing a prospective Marketing Brochure package that details ‘Deep Water Marine Investment Opportunities’ at 6 Strategic Development Locations deemed appropriate for marine-related investment.

The package is being distributed to potential investors around the world while a dedicated new website, www.shannonestuary.ie has been launched.

1,220 hectares of land at the 6 sites are zoned for marine-related industry in Regional and Local statutory development plans. The sites include Moneypoint (280Ha), Innismurry/Cahericon (65Ha) in County Clare, Askeaton (98Ha), Foynes Island (40Ha), and Foynes Port and adjoining lands (186Ha) in Limerick and Tarbert – Ballylongford Landbank (550Ha) in County Kerry.

The promotion of investment and development opportunities is the result of the Strategic Integrated Framework Plan (SIFP) for the Shannon Estuary, a land and marine-based plan launched in late 2013 by a multi-agency steering group comprising member organisations from throughout the wider region.

The Shannon Estuary features 500km2 of navigable water running from Kerry Head and Loop Head as far as Limerick City, a distance of 100km. The Estuary is Ireland’s premier deepwater port routinely catering for ships up to 200,000 deadweight tonnage (dwt) with key ports at Limerick and Foynes and direct connectivity to all major international shipping lanes. It is home to a number of large industries and employers, including ESB Moneypoint, Aughinish Alumina, Tarbert Power Station, Shannon International Airport and NORA Fuel Reserve.

“The Shannon Estuary Region is an attractive investment location for companies in the pharmaceutical, manufacturing and ICT sectors due to the global connectivity offered by Shannon Airport, the quality of lifestyle, and the abundance of world-class third level education facilities and graduates,” said Brian McCarthy, Senior Planner, Planning and Enterprise Development, Clare County Council, lead authority on the SIFP for the Shannon Estuary.

“The presence of large-scale marine-based facilities, 1,220 Hectares of zoned land, and the existing sheltered deep water resource presents considerable new investment potential along the Shannon Estuary,” he added.

Mr. McCarthy continued, “This multi-agency approach is aimed at sustainably accommodating future development, economic growth and employment within the Shannon Estuary. By working to attract new investment opportunities we are cognisant of the need to achieve a careful balance between promoting development, and the protection and conservation of this natural resource.”

Niall O’Callaghan, Business and Relationship Manager, IDA Ireland said, “As Ireland’s Foreign Direct Investment Agency, we at IDA Ireland very much welcome the completion of the SIFP marketing material and look forward to distributing it with our network of Overseas Teams. The Shannon Estuary is a key pillar in the potential attractiveness of the Mid-West to new forms of foreign direct investment and, aligned with IDA Ireland’s Regional Strategy through the Action Plan for Jobs I very much welcome the delivery of this project.”

“The culmination of many months work with our stakeholders within the Mid-West Region, the full potential of the SIFP can only be achieved with a coordinated delivery of infrastructure to support the 6 Strategic Sites that have been identified,” said Mr. O’Callaghan. “With this outcome, we can remain optimistic about the future potential investment in the Estuary, both land and marine based.”

The existing facilities on the Estuary are serviced by the largest vessels entering Irish waters while all commercial marine activities on the Shannon Estuary are managed and controlled by Shannon Foynes Port Company.

Pat Keating, CEO, Shannon Foynes Port Company commented “As Ireland’s largest bulk-port company and the port authority for the Shannon Estuary, Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) views the implementation of the SIFP as vital to realising the commercial maritime opportunities afforded by the unequalled naturally occurring deep waters of the Shannon Estuary.”

“The zoning of over 1,200 hectares across the six Strategic Developments Locations identified in the Strategic Integrated Framework Plan (SIFP) for the Shannon Estuary is extremely important in that it identifies, once and for all, the necessary land to facilitate the sustainable maritime development of this national strategic asset. The SIFP is also closely aligned with our own 30 year masterplan Vision 2041, under which €38m was invested in the SFPC port estate in 2015 alone.

“It is only with the ongoing collaboration and cooperation of all the stakeholders that we can fully realise the enormous estuary potential and the implementation of the SIFP is an important step in this regard,” stated Mr. Keating.

Welcoming the collaborative stakeholder approach, Ray O’Driscoll, Managing Director, Shannon Commercial Properties said: “As part of Shannon Group plc which provides global connectivity through Shannon Airport, and through Shannon Commercial Proprieties owns one of Ireland’s largest property portfolios, we are delighted to be part of this initiative which will promote development opportunities in the Shannon Estuary.”

“Shannon Commercial Properties owns significant land banks at Ballylongford and Askeaton, two of the 6 strategic development locations and we are actively engaging with all stakeholders to realise the full potential of these assets,” concluded Mr. O’Driscoll.

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