The opening today of the final 57km of the M17 M18 motorway will not only bring immediate economic benefits to towns and cities along the Atlantic Economic Corridor but it will support the development of the entire Shannon basin and act as the mobility backbone that improves the north-south flow along the Wild Atlantic Way.
That’s according to Maurice O’Gorman, president of Galway Chamber and a member of the Atlantic Economic Corridor, which has been pressing for continued investment in the corridor’s infrastructure to support the economic build-out of the region.
The overarching objective of the AEC, an initiative of the Chambers of Commerce of Shannon, Ennis, Galway, Roscommon, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, is to maximise the region’s assets and connect economic hubs, clusters and catchments of the region to generate a value proposition of scale which will attract investment and support job creation, improving the quality of life for those who live in the region.
“The extension of the M17 M18 motorway is a great first step in this direction,” said Helen Downes, CEO, Shannon Chamber.
“While its immediate economic benefits will be felt locally, in counties Clare and Galway which sit directly on the route, through accelerating access to key infrastructural assets such as Shannon Airport, the benefits will extend to bordering counties allowing easier access to towns along the entire western seaboard.”
The spin-off from having a motorway that facilitates faster movement throughout the West of Ireland, from Donegal to Kerry and Cork, is that it offers the opportunity to accelerate growth and economic development along the corridor.
“It will become the mobility backbone that improves the flow of business and people north to south, increasing investment and population density along the corridor and expanding the catchment area to support a more rapid growth of industry and business. It is a critical component in the drive to unlock the economic and social potential of the AEC region,” added David Kiely, former president, Sligo Chamber and chair of the AEC’s infrastructural group.