Clare Technology Park is viewed as a key site in boosting the employment numbers in the county town.
Fine Gael councillors have already spoken with the Tanáiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar (FG) on the further potential of the Clare Technology Park located on the Gort Rd in Ennis. There is approximately 50,000 sq.ft. of high-quality office space across the 35-acre parkland setting.
Starting a conversation between the Tanáiste, Shannon Group and the IDA was identified by Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) as the next step to attempt to build up steam and interest in the Technology Park. As he acknowledged the success of Shannon Group and the IDA in attracting employment to Shannon, he urged them to consider Clare Technology Park “as a location in the next phase of planning and development of technological buildings”.
Speaking at the November meeting of the Ennis Municipal District, Cllr Flynn stated, “We’re in the middle of a pandemic but as elected reps we have to look beyond this and plan for the future”. He referenced the planned thirty percent projection growth of Ennis by 2040 in the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy compiled by the Southern Regional Assembly, “this will require a further 3000 jobs”.
Varadkar has committed to raising the matter with the IDA, Cllr Flynn confirmed. He explained that there is a willingness on the behalf of Shannon Group to engage with the IDA.
“When you look at the figures for Ennis alongside Tralee and Killarney, they have at a minimum half of the population for job numbers, we’re lagging behind and employment is critical. For every two jobs created in Ennis, one of them is for a Clare person living outside the Ennis Municipal District, these jobs are crucial for continuing to grow the population of our county,” he added.
Ennis needs to be able to provide additional jobs, Cllr Pat Daly (FF) maintained. “A lot of the jobs will decrease in Shannon, Ennis needs jobs and the facilities are there”. Cllr Mark Nestor (FF) also voiced his support to put an increased focus on the Technology Park.
Cllr Flynn told the meeting he was disappointed his motion was stopped from going before a meeting of Clare County Council by the Corporate Policy Group, a sentiment which was shared by Cllr Paul Murphy (FG). “I would question the CPG decision. This is a key opportunity site in the Ennis 2040 plan,” Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) commented.
Senior executive officer, Leonore O’Neill believed Shannon Commercial Properties must be communicated with first as part of “a two stage process”.
“We need to push at a national level for this funding. This would be a very quick win if the Minister is sole minded,” Cllr Flynn concluded.