Speaking following the launch of Strategic Integrated Framework Plan for the Shannon Estuary by the Minister of State for Housing and Planning Jan O’Sullivan T.D. in the Inn at Dromoland on Friday afternoon last, Clare T.D. and Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade Pat Breen described the plan as a “blueprint for opportunity along the Shannon Estuary.”
“The Shannon Estuary is one of our Regions most important resources. It links Shannon International Airport with the sea ports in Foynes and Limerick and together with the improved road and rail infrastructure can create the links and opportunities for development all along the Estuary particularly along the Northern Bank where there is real potential.
A number of strategic sites have been identified on the Clare side where there is capacity for significant growth. The Innismurry/Cahercon Pier, Moneypoint. Poulnasherry Bay, Carrigaholt, Rinevella Bay and Killimer where there is wealth of natural resources can play their part in developing the Estuary as a Centre of Excellence for marine and port related activity. County Clare also has the potential to come a viable location for the production of bio-fuel given that much of our Estuary’s shoreline is ideally suited for seaweed harvesting which in turn could be converted into bio-fuel production if CO2 emissions from Moneypoint Power Station were filtered into seaweed in the Estuary.
As a result of the changes in international shipping trends and the over capacity problems in Rotherdam, the Estuary’s deep water berthage provides a real opportunity for the Region to secure a greater global share of the market for panama and post panamax vessels with the potential for the Northern bank of the Estuary to become a centre for transhipment business. And I am aware from my discussions in my role as Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade that there is considerable international interest in exploring this opportunity further.
This is the first land and marine based multi-agency plan which recognises the potential of developing the Estuary in a coordinated way which is very welcome. It also recognises the importance of continuing to develop Shannon Airport included its 2,000 land bank. It is the Blueprint for the opportunities which exist all along the Estuary for long term sustainable development and I would now urge all the stakeholders involved to prioritise its implementation in order that the Region can reap the real economic benefits particularly in terms of job creation.