CLARE County Council have called on the Shannon Estuary Economic Taskforce to put the development of a deep sea port at Moneypoint at the top of its list of priorities.
At a recent meeting of Clare County Council, Lissycasey’s PJ Ryan (Ind) criticised a recent report from the Taskforce.
“The most important asset of the Shannon, Moneypoint as a future port, is not mentioned,” he said.
He said that across Europe there is congestion at major ports such as Rotterdam and developing Moneypoint could be a huge success.
“Moneypoint is the deepest potential port. It should be developed and stop the Mickey Mouse projects at the other side of the river,” he said.
He said that Foynes would be “an irrelevance” to future shipping needs and he said Clare County Council has to “go back and insist that Moneypoint is top of the list.”
He was supported by Fine Gael’s Johnny Flynn, who said that Moneypoint would have huge advantages over Foynes in terms of shipping.
“Like my colleagues I was very disappointed with some of the content of the Shannon Estuary Economic Taskforce,” said Cllr Flynn.
“It was very Limerick-centric in its investment plans, railroads, ports infrastructure. From my knowledge of Foynes the areas that they want to extend the port into are recognised Flood A Zone areas and the port suffers very extensive silting on an annual basis, it’s just the nature of the estuary, whereas Moneypoint on the northern shore doesn’t have any silting problems and has much deeper waters.”
Councillor Michael Begley (Ind) said that Limerick have been operating cleverly to make progress on their side of the Estuary.
“Since I came into the Council the Shannon Estuary has been on the agenda. It has been the subject of debates and reports and everything else and all of that time Limerick have been working on what they have. They mightn’t have as much as we have in terms of deep water, but they’re making the best of what they’ve got,” he said.
He also said that in Limerick they had “dodged about with the Adare bypass to the point that they have linked in Foynes with doing that job.”
Summing up, Councillor PJ Kelly (Ind) claimed that the councillors had not been allowed to discuss the Taskforce’s report, something that was denied by the Council’s Chief Executive Pat Dowling, who had a role with the Taskforce himself, along with the Chief Executives from Limerick, Kerry and Tipperary.
He said that Moneypoint is in fact mentioned in the report, while he spoke about the benefits of offshore wind generation there, which he said will mean a “significant economic benefit” for the county.
However Councillor Kelly said that the issue he had raised in his motion was the development of port facilities at Moneypoint, not energy generation.
“We’re all for Moneypoint Energy but not at the exclusion of Moneypoint deep sea port,” he said.
Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.