With the highest concentration of US investment in a single location outside Dublin, Shannon can play a key role in counteracting the growing economic imbalance that is now clearly evident between the greater Dublin area and the west of Ireland.
That was the view of Shannon Chamber president Kevin Thompstone, when he addressed 300 business people at the Chamber’s annual President’s lunch in Dromoland, Co Clare this week, where An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny T.D. gave the keynote address.
Mr Thompstone said that the risk of doing so is paying off with the evidential addition of new air services and increasing passenger numbers.
Describing Shannon as a ‘Special Economic Zone’, a term widely used in China and the Middle East for areas of economic activity that encompass an airport/port, a high concentration of industry in a range of sectors, which Shannon has; a gateway town with a population of over 10,000; and a workforce of similar proportions, Mr Thompstone said the constant reinvention and diversity of these clusters has enabled Shannon manage economic ups and downs in one sector through balancing growth in others.
Commending the government for delivering the Newlands Cross flow-over, Mr Thompstone suggested the same focus is now required to deliver the Atlantic transport corridor, not just the Tuam to Galway link but a motorway connecting Limerick to Cork with resultant free flow from Cork on to Limerick, Clare, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Donegal and Derry and all the way to Belfast.