The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, has published the terms of reference for the Shannon Estuary Economic Taskforce, following government approval for its establishment.
The new Taskforce will assess the strategic strengths and comparative advantages of the Shannon Estuary and scope out potential opportunities for the area. The group will produce a report, specifying the actions which can be taken to create jobs and opportunities in the region by October of this year.
Clare’s Fianna Fáil TD has welcomed the news saying: “For years now, the people of West Clare have felt that their part of the county has lagged behind in terms of opportunities,”
“The commitment to delivering the Green Atlantic colossal offshore windfarm off of Moneypoint and repurposing the power station as a processing point for wind energy and a conversion facility for hydrogen fuels shows that there is a strong future commitment to the west of our county.
“The passing of the Marine Planning Bill in the Houses of the Oireachtas just before Christmas also hugely overhauled the planning laws that govern offshore projects.
“The previous law dated back to the 1930s and was hugely outdated and an inhibitor to economic activity off of the Co. Clare coast. Now, the new taskforce being set up will help breath further life into these projects and hopefully ensure that there are many spin-offs.
“The taskforce has five key aims – to assess the Shannon Estuary from an investment and enterprise perspective; to scope potential areas of opportunity; to asses connectivity levels; to specify actions required locally and nationally and to produce a report and plan with specific steps to reap the rewards of identified opportunities.
“As a member of the Oireachtas Transport Committee, I have repeatedly highlighted some of the untapped benefits of the large vessel berthing facilities at Moneypoint and the deep water channel that is the Shannon Estuary.
“There’s also great future potential in the Estuary area for tidal energy generation and I hope that this taskforce will now burn a bright light in terms of advancing some of these projects and unearthing new opportunities for the west of our county.”