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Senator Timmy Dooley: “It seems crazy that Clare County Council aren’t directly involved in leading strategy regarding the development of the Shannon Estuary region.”

‘Shock’ at absence of Clare council from estuary taskforce

THE decision not to include any representatives of Clare County Council to the new Shannon Estuary Economic Task Force has been criticised by Clare Senator Timmy Dooley, who said he is “shocked and frankly very disappointed”.

Ten people are included on the Task Force, including Shannon Group CEO Mary Considine and Ennis-based business consultant Siobhan Dolan Clancy. 

However there is no representative from Clare County Council, or indeed from the local authorities in Limerick and Kerry.

The full membership of the taskforce is as follows: • Barry O’Sullivan (Chairperson) – formerly of J&J and current IDA Board Member • Mary Considine – CEO Shannon Group • Siobhan Dolan Clancy – Managing Director – SDC Business Consulting Ltd • Seán Hegarty – ESB Generation and Trading • Seamus Hoyne – Dean of Flexible and Work Place Learning – Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest • Pat Keating – CEO Shannon Foynes Port Company • Professor Eamonn Murphy – University of Limerick & Chair of Mid-West Regional Enterprise Plan • Dr. Brendan O’Donnell – Vice President Research & Vice President Academic Affairs & Registrar – Munster Technological University • Dee Ryan – CEO of Limerick Chamber • Professor Luuk van der Wielen – Director Bernal Institute, University of Limerick.

Senator Dooley said he is stunned that Clare County Council had been overlooked, given the work it has already done in relation to utilising the Estuary.

“I am shocked and frankly very disappointed to see that neither Clare County Council or its executive will be represented on this new economic task force for the Shannon Estuary region. 

“The Shannon Integrated Framework plan has been a very successful project undertaken by local authorities in the region and chaired by the CEO of Clare County Council, the working group also included state and semi-state entities such as Limerick Foynes Port, the ESB, and Waterways Ireland amongst others.

“Whilst I have the height of respect for all those on the new group, without local authority involvement I fear this new group has the potential to become another talking shop without the boots on the ground to implement a strategic plan to ensure the area fulfils its economic potential.”

He said that local authorities in the region have already done some good work in relation to the Estuary.

“The existing Shannon Integrated Framework plan has been in place for a number of years and is reviewed at regular intervals.

“Local authorities in the region led by Clare County Council have already achieved much with the existing SIFP and its goals and objectives are even incorporated into the National Development Plan. 

“It seems crazy that Clare County Council aren’t directly involved in leading strategy regarding the development of the Shannon Estuary region.”

Announcing the membership, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said, “The Shannon Estuary has a proud history of leading industrial development; Ardnacrusha, Shannon Airport, Moneypoint, the Shannon Free Zone and the growth in industry we’ve seen in and around Limerick City as well as the development of UL and now the newly-established Technological University of the Shannon and Munster Technological University.

“This group is about building on that by looking to the future, and setting out how we can ensure long-term, sustainable jobs and investment opportunities along the estuary for the decades ahead.

“I’m really happy with the membership of the taskforce. It’s a really good mix of expertise from research, academia and industry. Thanks especially to Barry O’Sullivan, who has agreed to act as Chairperson.

“The group will be supported in its work by officials from various Government departments, state agencies and local authorities. I look forward to receiving a report with recommendations towards the end of this year.”

About Owen Ryan

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.

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