Editorial – An exciting time for the region

Attending the opening of Edwards Lifesciences in Shannon where 600 jobs will be created were Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD joined Edwards colleagues John P. McGrath, Ph.D. Corporate Vice President, Quality, Regulatory, Clinical; Nathan Tenzer, Plant General Manager; Daniel Howk, Senior Director of Quality alongside Rachel Shelly, Manager, Med Tech Division, IDA and Enda McLoughlin, Regional Business Development Manager for the Mid-West Region and other Edwards staff members in marking the occasion. Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22 Press Release: (Shannon, 8th August 2018): Edwards Lifesciences Corporation, the global leader in patient-focused innovations for structural heart disease and critical care monitoring, announced its first day of business at its initial site located in the Shannon Free Zone. Minister Breen, who is also a TD for Clare, stated, “This is very positive for the Mid-West and I congratulate everyone involved in bringing it to fruition. The presence of Edwards Lifesciences is a vote of confidence in the capacity of the Mid-West to attract one of the world’s most progressive and innovative companies and it sends a signal to others that this is a location worth considering. My Department and the IDA will continue to support Edwards as it develops its operations, and we wish the company every success in Ireland.” Headquartered in Irvine, California, USA, and employing more than 12,000 people globally, Edwards Lifesciences recently announced the company’s establishment in Ireland, which will over the next several years result in an estimated €80m investment and 600 jobs in the Mid-West of Ireland. Edwards is planning to hire approximately 60 people this year in various functions, such as production staff, engineering and professional management, to work at its initial site located in the Shannon Free Zone, with the majority of these positions already filled.

THERE was a new dawn in Shannon this week as the doors officially opened on a venture which will see the creation of 600 jobs and an investment of up to €80 million in the free zone in the coming years.

While only a fraction of these people are currently on the payroll at Edwards Lifesciences, the plans that this global leader has for its Shannon operation are a massive vote of confidence in this region.

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Limerick and Shannon are the drivers for the region and the airport plays no small part in that. On our doorstep, we have the facility to connect to any place in the world and that’s a selling point which will bring new blood, jobs and prosperity.

There is another resource which many feel has not been given the support and consideration which it deserves and that is Foynes port.

As well as an airport to connect us globally, we have one of the very few deep water ports which can accommodate supertankers.

Not for the first time, a councillor raised the issue of doing business with China, one of the fastest growing economic powers in the world.

They need a way of getting their products into Europe and this is one area where Brexit becomes Britain’s loss and Limerick’s gain. It’s an exciting time to be part of what is happening in Limerick.

Yet the focus still seems to be on cramming more people, more companies, more congestion into Dublin where a bonfire is burning under the price of property.

Why? We are a small island with far more to recommend us than an m50 car-park and living ten to a rented house.

It beggars belief that someone in the corridors of power has not come up with a master plan to proactively get people and jobs out of the over-stressed capital and down to the smaller cities and rural surrounds where they will have lifestyle compensations in spades.

But it would have to be a brave, visionary, comprehensive plan.