Dáil Éireann - Volume 611 - 06 December, 2005

Written Answers. - Industrial Development.

  98. Dr. Twomey asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if his Department intends taking extra action to improve the industrial and economic climate of the Shannon region following the decision to end the Shannon stop-over; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37875/05]

  Mr. Martin: National aviation policy, including the establishment of the new Shannon Airport Authority and changes to the Ireland-US bilateral air services arrangements fall within the policy remit of my colleague, the Minister for Transport.

My Department and the development agencies under its remit, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Shannon Development and the city and county enterprise boards, are committed to the economic and industrial development of the Shannon region, in line with national enterprise policy goals, and the achievement of balanced regional development, within the framework of the national spatial strategy.

The House will be aware that I recently announced details of a new mandate for Shannon Development. Under the terms of the new mandate the company is being given a more focused regional economic development remit that will complement the roles of the national agencies, IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, in attracting foreign direct investment and developing the indigenous enterprise base in the region. The city and county enterprise boards will continue to provide supports to stimulate economic activity at local level and to promote the establishment of micro-enterprises in the region.

The new mandate is based on Shannon Development’s own future strategy proposals and has the support of the board and other stakeholders in the region. It is also in line with the recommendations of the Enterprise Strategy Group and the decision to decentralise the headquarters of Enterprise Ireland to Shannon. The new arrangements will provide for a more logical delineation of responsibilities between the enterprise development agencies in the mid-west region and for greater clarity in relation to the economic development aspects of Shannon Development’s remit. I have asked the company to prepare a new three-year corporate plan to give substance to the mandate and I hope to receive this in the near future.

IDA Ireland’s strategy for the mid-west region places an emphasis on the gateway and hub [1199] locations of Shannon-Limerick, Tralee and Ennis. The location of new overseas investment in the gateway and hub locations not alone brings high wage jobs to these locations but has knock-on benefits in other sectors such as supply, distribution and transport, thus creating further investment-employment opportunities for local people in the immediate vicinity and surrounding areas. IDA Ireland’s sectoral emphasis in the mid-west region is on attracting new knowledge intensive projects in information communications and technology, international services, medical technologies and life sciences.

The airport provides a strong selling point for the region and all of the agencies and stakeholders in the region agree that the successful development of Shannon Airport is vital to its economic success. They are already working together to enhance the potential of the region in fora such as the Atlantic Technology Corridor and the Atlantic Way. IDA Ireland works with the airport to monitor routes, schedules, etc., to ensure ease of access and timeliness for potential inward investment opportunities. Shannon Development, in conjunction with other stakeholders, has also initiated work on the possible development of an agile logistics hub at the airport. The company also has responsibility for tourism development in the Shannon region.