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MEMBERSHIP of the Shannon Estuary Economic Taskforce includes ten individuals, three of which are based in Co Clare.

Following Government approval, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD (FG) has announced the membership of the Taskforce, following Government approval.

CEO of Shannon Group, Mary Considine, Ennis based Managing Director of SDC Business Consulting Siobhan Dolan Clancy and Seán Hegarty who works at Moneypoint with ESB are the Clare representatives on the grouping which will be chaired by Barry O’Sullivan formerly of J&J. The Taskforce and its Chairperson were appointed following an open call for Expressions of Interest and an associated objective assessment process based on the criteria set out to all candidates, membership is on an unpaid basis

Other members include Seamus Hoyne Dean of Flexible and Work Place Learning at Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest, CEO of Shannon Foynes Port Company Pat Keating, Professor Eamonn Murphy of University of Limerick & Chair of Mid-West Regional Enterprise Plan, Dr. Brendan O‘Donnell – Vice President Research & Vice President Academic Affairs & Registrar – Munster Technological University, Limerick Chamber CEO Dee Ryan and Professor Luuk van der Wielen, Director Bernal Institute, University of Limerick.

Strategic strengths and comparative advantages of the Shannon Estuary will be assessed by the Taskforce while also scoping out potential economic opportunities. The group is to have a report compiled by the end of November and will be then considered by the Government.

According to the Tánaiste the membership has “a really good mix of expertise from research, academia and industry”. He stated, “The Shannon Estuary has a proud history of leading industrial development; Ardnacrusha, Shannon Airport, Moneypoint, the Shannon Free Zone and the growth in industry we’ve seen in and around Limerick City as well as the development of UL and now the newly-established Technological University of the Shannon and Munster Technological University”.

Absence of Clare County Council representatives from the Taskforce was criticised by Senator Timmy Dooley (FF). “Whilst I have the height of respect for all those on the new group without local authority involvement, I fear this new group has the potential to become another talking shop without the boots on the ground to implement a strategic plan to ensure the area fulfils its economic potential”.

“It has already undertaken a major body of work which this new task force aims to re-do. The existing Shannon Integrated Framework plan has been in place for a number of years and is reviewed at regular intervals. Local authorities in the region led by Clare County Council have already achieved much with the existing SIFP and its goals and objectives are even incorporated into the National Development Plan. It seems crazy that Clare County Council aren’t directly involved in leading strategy regarding the development of the Shannon Estuary region,” Dooley added.

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