Invest Limerick launched as region continues to compete

Caroline Kelleher, Director of Policy, Limerick Chamber, Martin Shanahan, CEO of IDA Ireland, Pat Keating, CEO of Shannon Foynes Port Company and Niall O’Callaghan, business development manager at the IDA 
Picture Sean Curtin True Media.

Limerick’s economic transformation is enabling it to now compete with leading European regions on an international scale for inward investment, a recent business breakfast in the city was told.

Attended by executives from some of the city’s leading domestic and multi-national businesses and addressed by IDA Ireland’s CEO Martin Shanahan, the joint Limerick City and County Council and Limerick Chamber event heard that there is a real sense of optimism in the city and region now thanks to the dramatic economic resurgence that has taken hold.

At today’s briefing Limerick City and County Council and Limerick Chamber outlined a series of initiatives for 2017 that will further raise the city’s flag as a destination for inward investment.  They include:

·        Commissioning an analysis of economic data to capture Limerick’s level of competitiveness in an international context

·        Creating key marketing assets to help IDA Ireland and other agencies to attract inward investment into the region

·        Launching next month a new platform to help promote Limerick internationally with cutting edge functionality that will showcase Limerick for those living, working, visiting and doing business in the region

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Addressing the gathering, Mayor of the City and county of Limerick Councillor Kieran O’Hanlon said: “Limerick is on an incredible journey.  Today it’s a proud and confident place, competing internationally. A self-belief and can-do attitude has seen us become very successful in the last few years in attracting investment, both foreign and domestic. Limerick has changed for the better and today is a declaration that we have come a long way but have mapped out the journey ahead to ensure we maintain this momentum.”

Head of Marketing/Communications for the local authority Laura Ryan said that the creation of 9,000 jobs in Limerick the region over the past three years in Limerick has made the Mid-West the fastest growing region outside of Dublin.  “We are going through one of the greatest economic periods in Limerick’s history and it hasn’t happened by accident.  There’s a confluence of unprecedented investment happening through key regional stakeholders here, from our local authority to Shannon Airport, Shannon Foynes Port Company and third level institutions, among others,” she said.

“We also have a business community, led by Limerick Chamber, that is now very much mobilised in the collective for Limerick.  Better still, all of these key stakeholders are continuously communicating, working together in a spirit of partnership and it is creating an optimism and confidence not experienced here for a long time, if ever.”

IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan said that this region is one of the best examples of stakeholders working together. “The IDA is like the full forward as we tend to be at the point where we are trying to get something across the line but without the rest of the team it just wouldn’t work. Thankfully I can say the Limerick and Mid-West is leading the way in that regard.”

He said that the most important target from an IDA Ireland perspective is an increase in regional investments of 30 to 40%. “Thankfully I can say the Mid-West and Limerick is leading the way in that regard.  Limerick and Mid-West is now the fastest growing region, which is obviously a huge turnaround. Over 3,400 jobs have been added to the FDI base since 2013 across all sectors. In limerick itself there was a net increase of 1,415 jobs in 2016,” Mr Shanahan stated.

“It was a phenomenal performance and the credit is shared for that increase. One of the things we do is continually check in with client companies and the feedback has been extremely positive with regard to here in Limerick.”

Said Limerick Chamber CEO James Ring: “Limerick’s vital statistics are very healthy today.  In addition to the 9,000 jobs and €1.3bn in investment over the past three years, unemployment is at 7%, which is lower than the national average.  We have a young population, with 50% under 35 years; an urban population of 100,000 in Limerick itself and our commercial rates are between 30% and 50% more competitive than rival investment locations. Add to that the fact that Limerick Twenty Thirty, a special purpose vehicle established by Limerick City and County Council, is going to spend over €500m in building out 1.4m sq ft of prime real estate with a target of 5,000 jobs. So not only have we had a remarkable three years, we are going to make sure that the trajectory for the next three and many more beyond is maintained.”

The Chamber CEO added that one of the biggest pieces for Limerick, though, is the quality of life. “We have no congestion, very affordable cost of living, we are a quick step to the Wild Atlantic Way and iconic locations like the Cliffs of Moher, have available housing and are at the heart of Ireland’s most fertile region, the Golden Vale,” he continued.

“We have a great story in Limerick and now that we are, for the first time ever, at this level it’s time for us to shout loud and tell our story internationally as our all-round competitiveness is now such that we can compete with not just on a national level but with internationally.”