Fears estuary will lose out on investment

THE Shannon Foynes Port Authority (SFPA) has warned Clare could be losing investment to the Shannon estuary in a new county development plan.

The SFPA made the claim after Clare Co Council removed “opportunity sites” in the Shannon estuary that were designated to promote industry in the area for its County Development Plan 2011-17.

The council removed the “opportunity sites” after the Department of the Environment raised concerns.

In its submission, the SFPA hit out at the removal, stating there had been an over-reliance on and dominance of environmental concerns in relation to the Shannon estuary. It states the “precautionary approach could be at the expense of attracting future potential investment to the region”.

In response, county manager Tom Coughlan said the designations were removed following submissions from the department along with the National Parks and Wildlife Service. He said the council will, instead, facilitate an inter-jurisdictional Strategic Integrated Framework Plan (SIFP).

He states: “I consider that the SIFP, when produced, will provide a clear roadmap for the future sustainable economic development of the Shannon Estuary for the benefit of local authorities, developers, investors, stakeholders and other agencies.

“Such a roadmap will be viable and achievable, having taken full account of all conservation objectives, qualifying interests and sustaining resources, together with the needs of future economic uses, the likely environmental effects and assessment of impacts there of under the requirement of the Habitats Directive.”

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