Authority urges revival of E4bn investment plan

Mary Dundon, Political Reporter

The Shannon Development 4bn investment plan aimed to generate 20,000 jobs for the Mid-West counties of Limerick, Clare, Kerry, Tipperary and Offaly.

This 10-point plan was aimed at creating a new Atlantic Economic Zone, with the agency extending its remit to Galway city and county in a bid to create an alternative economic zone to Dublin.

But Mr Martin axed the plan because he does not want a regional agency duplicating the role of Enterprise Ireland, which was set up to create indigenous Irish jobs nationwide.

Enterprise Ireland will also be moved to Shannon shortly as part of the Government’s decentralisation plan.

The Mid-West Regional Authority, however, wants Mr Martin to ensure the investment plan proposed by Shannon Development is not shelved.

As the agency charged with co-ordinating all development and public services within the Mid-West, the Authority is now writing to Mr Martin asking him to ensure this investment is not lost.

“We accept that the minister has the right to change the function of any agency under his control but that should not stop this investment coming to the region,” Mid-West Regional Authority director Tom Kirby said.

The region must not suffer because of some Government policy change, Mr Kirby added.

“Enterprise Ireland or any other agency that is taking over the proposals contained in the 4bn plan must now be given the funds to implement this plan,” Mr Kirby said.

And the Mid-West Regional Authority chairman Mattie Ryan is now writing to Mr Martin asking him to ensure the plan is not lost to the region without a proper examination of what it can deliver.

Mr Martin’s spokeswoman said the minister is committed that the region will not lose any investment due to the new mandate given to Shannon Development.

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