Shannon Estuary plans could create 50,000 jobs by 2050

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar joined Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment Simon Coveney, Barry O’Sullivan, Chairman Shannon Estuary Economic Taskforce, Minister for Education Norma Foley and Minister for the Environment, Climate & Communications, and Transport Eamon Ryan at the historic Ardnacrusha hydro-electric dam to publish the Shannon Taskforce Report. Photo: Brian Arthur

THE SHANNON Estuary has the power to become the “green digital powerhouse” for the entire country, according to a new report from the Shannon Estuary Economic Taskforce.

As well as that, the estuary could create up to 50,000 jobs by 2050 if the plans for the area come to fruition.

“Based on the estuary’s unique natural assets, including almost unrivalled deep-water, its proximity to one of the world’s largest offshore wind resources, which has an estimated 70GW generation capacity – ten times the current national requirement – and available development landbanks for offshore wind supply-chains, the estuary can become the staging post for the Atlantic Green Digital Corridor,” according to the taskforce report.

The proposed Atlantic Green Digital Corridor would run from Donegal to Cork, but would be anchored in the Shannon Estuary.

Limerick’s green digital hub could create 10,000 jobs by 2035, eventually rising to 50,000 by 2050, and would deliver “unprecedented benefit to the State”, according to the report.
The key recommendation of the report was that a National Floating Offshore Wind Development Agency be created to bring the proposals to life.

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Speaking at the launch of the Shannon Estuary Economic Taskforce report at Ardnacrusha over the weekend, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that the estuary has the power to revolutionise energy generation in Ireland.

“It is a really visionary piece of work in my view. And what we want to do here in the Shannon Estuary region is to make this the green digital powerhouse for the country.

“I see this as an Ireland project and an all-of-Ireland project. We have a single electricity market north and south, and we’re keen to approach this opportunity, this green energy revolution, as something that will involve the whole country, north and south,” the Taoiseach said.

Speaking at the launch, Taskforce Chairman Barry O’Sullivan said: “We see this region as the green front door of Europe, leading to an Atlantic Green Digital Corridor where we can take the infinite green energy from the Atlantic and convert that into a new economy and a new society for Ireland.”

The report was welcomed by Limerick City and County Council, with the newly elected Mayor Gerald Mitchell saying that the plans have the potential to reshape the economic and environmental landscape in the region.

“The Shannon Estuary Taskforce report presents us with a vision for the future that is ambitious but also very achievable. Delivering on the proposals would make this region a leader in renewable energy production in Ireland with huge potential for supplying Europe through technologies like hydrogen,” he said.

“I welcome the whole of Government approach as outlined by the Taoiseach at the launch of the report and I hope we will see swift decision making and action to turn this vision into a reality,” the Mayor concluded.