ON Friday Nationwide on RTÉ One television, will broadcast a special programme to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Shannon Free Zone. The largest multi-sectoral business park outside of Dublin, Shannon Free Zone is managed by Shannon Group’s property company, Shannon Commercial Properties.
The Zone was founded in 1959 and was the brainchild of Dr Brendan O’Regan. In an effort to entice foreign direct investment to the region, and provide much-needed jobs, Dr O’Regan came up with the concept of developing a special industrial zone with tax incentives adjacent to Shannon Airport.
Six decades later, Dr O ’Reagan’s legacy means there are now over 170 companies located in the Zone, employing over 8,000 people.
Presenter Mary Kennedy explores how the zone has grown and developed, meeting Ray O’Driscoll, Managing Director of Shannon Commercial Properties, part of the Shannon Group, who fills her in on the history of the Shannon Free Zone, current developments and future plans.
Ms Kennedy also visits Atlantic Aviation Group, where she talks to CEO Shane O’Neill and employee Kate Gallagher about how the company has evolved since its inception in 1962 by Aer Lingus, changing hands several times over the years, only to come full circle and back into Irish ownership since 2014. Atlantic Aviation Group is just one of the companies that together form the largest Aviation/Aerospace cluster in Ireland, located in the Shannon Free Zone.
Zimmer Biomet is an orthopaedics manufacturing company located in the Zone for the last decade. Mary Kennedy meets Site Leader Ireland for Zimmer Biomet, Claude Costelloe, who tells her about the knee replacement parts made at the facility, and the importance to the company of Corporate Social Responsibility and reaching out to the community.
Nationwide also visits Ei Electronics, a hugely successful, wholly Irish-owned company for more than 30 years, and in existence for some 56 years. Ei Electronics designs and manufactures smoke and carbon dioxide alarms for the home. We hear how the three co-founders, Mick Guinee, Jim Duignan and Mike Byrne, rescued the company from closure in the 1980s, overseeing it as it went from strength to strength, until it now employs over 700 people from the region, and generates some 200 million euro in annual worldwide sales.