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Jobs boost from €7 million Lissycasey water plant extension

Plans for an additional €7 million investment in a new enterprise on the outskirts of Lissycasey were confirmed at the official opening of the new €4.2 million bottling plant by An Taoiseach Brian Cowen on Monday.
CTaoiseach Brian Cowen is shown how to divine for water with a coat hanger by Acting Clare Mayor PJ Kelly and Clare Spring Water’s Paul Connellan.  Photograph by John Kellylare Spring Waters Limited currently employs 10 people at High Street, Lissycasey and this is expected to grow by an extra 90 over the next three years as the company continues to develop of number of new projects.
Managing Director Paul J Connellan stated at the official opening the overall investment totalled €7 million in processing plant, machinery and construction. The jobs will be created in a new biodegradable bottle manufacturing and recycling facility as well as in sales, marketing and engineering.
Mr Connellan said that the company was introducing Ireland’s first biodegradable and compostable plastic bottle. The new environmentally friendly bottle made from plants will be used to package Clare Spring Water’s new Wellness brand, which goes onto market in October of this year with still and sparkling products.
Unlike existing oil-based water bottles, which are only 15% recyclable when landfilled, the biodegradable water bottles turn into liquid within a few months when they are dumped, posing no environmental risk and there is also 75% less carbon emissions in their manufacture.
“The Wellness brand has been created in response to the need for a pure spring water from an organic source and presented to the customer in the most environmentally friendly bottle we can find,” Mr Connellan said.
To further reduce its carbon footprint, Wellness will manufacture its entire range of biodegradable and compostable plastic bottles on site, unlike other companies who ship or truck empty oil-based bottles over large distances to their bottling plant.
“I believe our story represents a strong ray of hope, confidence and optimism in the future of this country. Previous generations have been through tougher times and survived.
“Our generation is equipped with better education and more sophisticated skills. We must use these advantages to deal with today’s challenges and we must win,” he added.
A wind turbine has been installed, providing one third of the plant’s electricity needs. With the addition of two further turbines, the plant will be totally powered by wind energy.
Clare Spring Water has been nominated by Ulster Bank as a contender for the Business Achievers Awards, which will be announced in March 2010. Enterprise Ireland has approved a feasibility study grant to help the company explore the UK market while €150,000 has been allocated under the Leader programme.
The Taoiseach congratulated the Connellan family on the success of their enterprise to date. “Clare Spring Water is exactly the type of indigenous company we want to support and encourage as we build our smart economy – combining innovation and environmental sustainability. Consumers are increasingly looking for healthy and traceable products.
“This is a market which is expanding considerably and Clare Spring Water has tapped into the development potential which exists.
“Consumers are also looking for products which are produced in an environmentally friendly manner and with a low carbon footprint.
“The approach taken by the Connellans is an important local step to tackle the problem of climate change while also creating investment and jobs in clean industry.
“The development of this factory was made possible thanks mainly to Clare Spring Water’s own innovation and resources and who should be commended for their initiative, drive and commitment to the venture.
“I have no doubt that Clare Spring Water will make a great difference, for the better, to Lissycasey, to County Clare and to the Mid-West region long into the future – as an employer, as a business and as a business inspiration for others,” he said.
Acting Mayor of Clare, Councillor PJ Kelly, welcomed the attendance.
Having looked at the phoenix in The Clare Champion masthead and its motto I Arise To Complete My Task, Councillor Kelly noted the Clare intermediate lady footballers, with two local girls, Áine Kelly and Clare Spring’s sales representative Lorraine Kelly, had completed their task on Sunday by winning the All-Ireland title while Clare Spring had also succeeded in its ambitious plans.
The Lissycasey councillor Kelly said that the new ideas and tremendous enterprise developed by the company illustrated what could be done by others even in the teeth of a recession.
He pointed out the €4.2 million plant had been constructed without any Government grant assistance and noted that no grants were available for companies employing over 10 and less than 50 people.
The councillor warned that changes needed to be introduced in the new Planning and Development Act amid concerns of over-regulation.
“We need to get rid of red tape, which is strangling business in rural Ireland and the influence of cabbage heads in this legislation,” he said.

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