THE development of new infrastructure will expand the Atlantic Corridor through Limerick Cork and Galway and offer a counterbalance to Dublin, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has predicted.
Speaking at the announcement of 150 new jobs in Limerick last Friday, Mr Vardakar said the development of the M20 motorway to Cork was one element of an ambitious investment plan for transport, health, education aviation and energy infrastructure in the Mid West region.
He revealed that the Government wanted to boost expenditure to €8.4bn by 2021 moving Ireland “from one of the lowest investors in infrastructure in the European Union to one of the highest with a young and expanding population”.
Mr Vardakar said that funding approval for the Coonagh to Knocklisheen distributor road was “a very important part of Limerick regeneration” as was the €300 million Limerick to Foynes road project which would increase access to Shannon Foynes Port and enhance its importance as a national transport hub in the years ahead.
The M20 Cork to Limerick motorway would link Cork, Limerick and Galway to create a genuine corridor and help develop a strong counterbalance to the greater Dublin region.
The expansion of the Dublin metro network would link the city with the airport but the development of the Atlantic corridor was “equally as important”, Mr Vardakar said.
The Taoiseach was in Limerick to mark the 20th anniversary of H&MV Engineering and to announce that the high voltage specialist firm is planning to increase its workforce from 150 to 300 at its Plassey headquarters over the next three to five years.
“The success of H&MV represents in many ways the story of the strength of Irish indigenous enterprise, the collaborative character of Irish society and the also the innovation of the Irish spirit.
One of the most encouraging statistics for the Mid West region is that there is more than 6,500 more people working here than there were two years ago, the Taoiseach said.
Those people returning to work “makes a huge difference, not only to their fortunes but to their self-esteem and to their family and the community they live in.” Leo Varadkar said as the Limerick firm announced 150 new jobs over the next three years.
The Taoiseach said that the Government’s mission for Ireland was ambitious and “outward looking” and this was replicated in firms like H&MV in providing opportunities for “all our citizens”.
Mr Varadkar said that he wanted to keep the economy on a sound footing and not make the mistakes of the past and “balance the books”, as he paid tribute to the role played by former Finance Minister Michael Noonan in Ireland’s economic recovery.
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