THE possibility of vacant units at the Free Zone being used by local voluntary and community organisations has been raised by Mayor of Shannon Michael Fleming.
The Shannon Development annual report for 2011 was published this week and it showed there are still over 7,700 people working in the Shannon Free Zone but there was an overall reduction of 174 jobs there last year.
On Wednesday, Councillor Fleming said the decline in the number working there over the last few years is discouraging.
“At the moment, the Free Zone is like a ghost estate and the companies that are there don’t seem to be hiring people.”
Councillor Fleming said at least one of the job announcements made in Shannon in recent years turned out to be far less significant than was outlined.
He also said allowing voluntary organisations to use vacant units could be a win-win situation. “Not only do we get people coming to us looking for work but we have community and voluntary groups who are looking for units. There are empty units lying here and those groups could make use of them. It might make the estate look busier and help to turn it around.”
Councillor Gerry Flynn said while a net loss of jobs is disappointing, it’s not all doom and gloom. “There are multiple industries in this region and when one is struggling, another might be doing well. I heard Vincent Cunnane talking and he said there are so many companies that when one is down, another will be up. Shannon has survived tougher times than this.”
Councillor Flynn said one thing that bothers him is that potential entrepreneurs are being discouraged from starting businesses by the introduction of new charges and concerns about the overheads that are being faced.