N69 link to Foynes – An unprecedented opportunity will not be realised without the development of the N69, Limerick Chamber has warned.
Huge offshore floating opportunity needs N69 link to Foynes
An unprecedented opportunity for developing offshore wind and the renewable energy sector off the Shannon Estuary will not be realised without the development of the N69, Limerick Chamber has warned.
Addressing the An Bord Pleanála oral hearing on the N69 project, Chamber CEO Dee Ryan said that the N69 is one of a range of initiatives and supports needed to stimulate economic activity for the area and to ensure delivery on new opportunities arising from the activity at Shannon Foynes Port.
In addition to being essential in realising the almost limitless opportunity from offshore floating wind, Ms. Ryan stated that the N69 can have a significant impact on tourism and is in keeping with the government’s objectives under the National Development Plan.
She said: “The development of offshore wind and the renewable energy sector is recognised as a potentially transformative opportunity for Limerick and the Mid-West. However, those opportunities cannot be fully realised without the development of the N69 supported by investments in rail freight capacity along the Foynes to Limerick line.
“Enhanced connectivity with the University of Limerick and Limerick Institute of Technology will also be crucial for the enterprise and innovation hubs needed to support the development of the green energy sector in the Mid-West.”
Ms. Ryan said that investment in regional development is more crucial now than ever given that regions outside of the capital are likely to lag behind Dublin in terms of economic recovery in the aftermath of the COVID crisis, similar to what was witnessed in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis.
Thanks to Ministers @DarraghOBrienTD and @peterburkefg for hosting a useful dialogue this morning with our Chamber Network. Good discussion on NPF, Town Centre First, "above the shop" living, local government funding and the post-pandemic recovery pic.twitter.com/cSlSSh2ok2
— Chambers Ireland (@ChambersIreland) February 11, 2021
“The benefits provided by the N69 underpin the competitiveness of the Mid-West Region, through enhancing connectivity and facilitating economic growth across existing and new sectors. The economic growth that the N69 will facilitate will assist in providing a counterpoint to Dublin in the context of the National Planning Framework, and the wider Mid-West and South West Regions (including Kerry) and the Atlantic Corridor,” she said.
Ms. Ryan said that the N69 will be a significant piece of tourism infrastructure, including for when the Ryder Cup is hosted at Adare Manor.
“Limerick’s Adare Manor secured the event expected to attract 300,000 visitors in September of that year, providing Limerick and the Mid-West region with an unprecedented opportunity to showcase our regional tourism and investment product to the world.
“The N69 will be crucial to logistical planning for this event and will deliver improved capacity to serve the connectivity requirements of the tourism industry in the Mid-West and South-West Region, including through expanding the catchment area of Shannon Airport.
“Outside of the Ryder Cup, the N69 will support Fáilte Ireland’s work to develop Limerick as a ‘Gateway City on the Wild Atlantic Way’. In 2019 the Cliffs of Moher was the second-highest visitor attraction in the country at 1.4 million visitors and the broader Wild Atlantic Way boasted in excess of 700,000 visitors. However, Tourism Ireland has warned of the need to address imbalances as more than 70% of visitors stay in just 5 counties,” she said.
Ms Ryan added that the Chamber believes that the N69 will support work being done by the team at Shannon Foynes Port to grow its share of the Cruise Ship market. It is believed that this market has the potential to grow significantly from the low base in 2019.
“Improved connectivity via the N69 will facilitate the inclusion of Limerick excursions on future cruise ship itineraries and contribute to sustaining employment in the local hospitality sector,” she added.
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