Eoghan Murphy TD, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government pictured at the Shannon Chamber lunch in Dromoland with Helen Downes, CEO, Shannon Chamber (left) and Mary Considine, president, Shannon Chamber. Photograph by Eamon Ward.
The gains to be attained from the delivery of the National Planning Framework (NPF) and the National Development Plan (NDP) will only materialise if all stakeholders take responsibility for their delivery.
This was one of the key messages Shannon Chamber president, Mary Considine, gave when addressing the chamber’s summer lunch in Dromoland Caste Hotel today (Friday, 15 June 2018) at which Eoghan Murphy TD, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government was keynote speaker.
The luncheon, which was sponsored by L&M Keating and the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), was attended by representatives from the strong cluster of industry in the Shannon region, keenly interested in maximising the potential of the region.
Speaking at the lunch, Minister Murphy said: “Project Ireland 2040 is a shared national vision that will improve our competitiveness and quality of life. Government is now focused on implementation and investment to deliver a prosperous and sustainable future. The current Regional and Metropolitan Spatial planning processes and the four direct exchequer funds that will open for bids in the coming weeks, are key opportunities to identify and prioritise outcomes to be achieved at a regional scale.”
Commenting specifically on Shannon Chamber’s key asks from the NPF/NDP, Ms Considine remarked that, while strong foundations for growth are evident in the Shannon region, continued infrastructural investment is nevertheless required to enable the region compete for mobile investment and retain the many indigenous and FDI enterprises already in situ in the region.
“Improved public transport between cities and the wider hinterland and, air connectivity to the region and the west of Ireland/Atlantic Economic Corridor, must rank equally with developing a new road network in/from the region,” she added.
“As stated in ESRI research, airports play an important role in facilitating economic growth, particularly high-tech FDI and knowledge-intensive firms, which are key drivers for economic development. We hope, therefore, that the importance of air connectivity as a key enabler of enterprise and tourism will be further recognised in the regional spatial and economic strategies (RSES) and that these strategies will also look beyond administrative boundaries and recognise economic zones of influence such as Shannon.”
Calling for continued investment in key utilities infrastructure in the region and an adequate supply of housing to meet the needs of the people working in the new and expanding industries setting up in Shannon and the wider region, Ms Considine added: “It is important that the local authorities have the funding to invest in servicing land for housing; this will encourage the private sector to build.”
Welcoming the Government’s promise to streamline the judicial review of strategic infrastructure projects, Ms Considine suggested that these should be wider than just strategic projects.
“It would be unfortunate not to learn lessons from the Athenry Apple situation, particularly as the Government looks to spend €115 billion in the capital plan.
“We also look forward to hearing more about the legislative proposal which are set to give Local Authorises some flexibility to encourage certain types of activity in their areas,” she concluded.
Eoghan Murphy TD, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government pictured at the Shannon Chamber lunch in Dromoland Castle Hotel with (from left): Tom Parlon, director general, CIF; Minister Pat Breen; Helen Downes, CEO, Shannon Chamber; Mary Considine, president, Shannon Chamber; and Gordon O’Regan, CEO, L&M Keating, lunch sponsor. Photo: Eamon Ward Photography.