BUSINESSMAN Denis Brosnan is to remain as chairman of the Mid-West Task Force.
The former Kerry Group chief had threatened to pull out of the task force but has confirmed he will now stay on to head the body as progress had now been made by the Government on the task force’s first report.
The assurance came after a meeting of the task force yesterday. Mr Brosnan said the new Limerick boundary committee will address many of the issues the task force had raised in relation to the future development of Limerick city and its strategic importance to the economic role of the mid-west.
Mr Brosnan said: “We are beginning to see progress which is enough to let us finish off stage two of our report.”
Another key recommendation of the task force report was that the mid-west must be made a priority region by the IDA and Enterprise Ireland.
Mr Brosnan said: “We are seeing movement there. We are not seeing jobs, but we are seeing a lot more seriousness from the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment. We also recommended the development of a 70-acre land bank near UL owned by Shannon Development as a biofarm medical park where these industries could be placed.”
Mr Brosnan said the continuing fall in Shannon Airport passenger numbers is a matter of concern.
Passenger numbers fell by 12% last year and he fears a further 15% decline in that figure this year. He said the task force wanted a major cargo hub developed at the airport.
Mr Brosnan flagged a major shake up of the local government structure in the greater Limerick city area.
At present Limerick City Council, Limerick County Council and Clare County Council are involved in managing the greater suburban area.
Mr Brosnan said: “There is a strong feeling out there that one authority could better serve not just Limerick city but the region itself.”
Environment Minister John Gormley has already redrawn the boundary to give the city council control of wider areas of the north side of the city. However, Limerick County Council is strongly opposed to a boundary extension to the south of thecity, where it gets huge rates of income from Raheen Industrial estate and the vast Crescent Shopping Centre.
It is believed Mr Brosnan has been asked to make a report within the next two months and Mr Gormley has given him an undertaking he will act promptly on any recommendations.
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