Shannon Offers Perfect Opportunity to Demonstrate How Government’s and IDA plans for Regions Can Work… Shannon Chamber President

Martin Shanahan, CEO, IDA Ireland in conversation with Harry Fehily, managing partner, Holmes O’Malley Sexton (lunch sponsors), and Kevin Thompstone, Shannon Chamber president. Photo: Eamon Ward.

The clear link between the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs – Regional and the new IDA strategy for 2015 – 2019, their key themes, and the approaches they contain to win new investment for the regions, provide Shannon with the opportunity to demonstrate how regional action can work in practice.

This was the message Shannon Chamber president Kevin Thompstone imparted at a Chamber business luncheon in Dromoland Castle Hotel today (Thursday, 26 February 2015) where IDA Ireland’s CEO Martin Shanahan gave the keynote address.

Speaking at the lunch, Mr Shanahan said: “International competition for investment has never been more intense. IDA Ireland has set ambitious investment and jobs targets for the next five years. In order to achieve these targets, a continuation of the pro-business policies that have been employed to-date is required and we need to maintain our competitiveness. To achieve the ambitious FDI regional targets in this strategy will require the support of all regional stakeholders to help develop attractive regional offerings.”

In his introductory remarks the Chamber president said: “The two key regional elements in the Action Plan for Jobs – the €100m Enterprise Ireland Competitive Fund to support and encourage regional stakeholders to work together and the €150m that IDA Ireland is to invest in building advance manufacturing and office facilities – coupled with the strong and up-front focus on regional development contained in IDA’s Strategy 2015 – 2019, are evidence of a new emphasis on regions and collaborative undertakings.

Shannon CEOs are already focused on generating further growth in the region through their active participation in the Chamber’s CEO Forum; the Chambers along the western seaboard (Ennis, Galway, Limerick and Shannon) are working closely on strategic opportunities; and a new masterplan for Shannon is ready for implementation.

“Shannon provides a perfect example of how existing strengths, in this case, the track record of investment in Shannon, can be further developed. Shannon has the clusters and the cutting edge companies which also feature as essential elements of Ireland’s winning mentality. It is the perfect test case to demonstrate that the Action Plan is for real and Shannon Chamber and its members are ready to participate and support agencies and organisations to build on the strengths and assets of the area.

“However, allocation of capital funding to the implementation of the Shannon Free Zone masterplan would greatly speed up the process. It is essential that a significant portion of the Regional Action Plan funding is allocated to turning the masterplan into reality, thereby enabling Shannon to play its part in assisting IDA deliver its new strategy,” Mr Thompstone concluded.