Natural gas is coming to Nenagh. The decision was officially announced last week by the Commission for Energy Regulation following an application that was to them last December by Gaslink, a subsidiary of Bord Gais that is responsible for new town connections.
The decision is expected to save Nenagh businesses an estimated €25m over the next five years and is seen as a major boost to bringing new industries to the town. It could mean an annual saving of up to €2m alone for its biggest customer Arrabawn Co-Op.
The construction of the connection, which is expected to take a year, is one of the biggest infrastructure projects announced for any where in North Tipperary in the past decade and will cost an estimated €8.5m to install. It is expected that the first gas will flow in to the town by the end of 2014. The pipeline will run along the old N7 from Birdhill.
The decision, which was announced on May 1, has been welcomed by politicians and business people.
Local Junior Minister Alan Kelly, who revealed he had approximately 50 meetings on the project, said: “Gas provision means massive financial savings for companies, businesses and public buildings across the town immediately once connected.”
He said bringing gas to Nenagh involved working with Minister for Natural Resource Pat Rabbitte, Department of Energy officials, Bord Gais, North Tipperary County Council and Nenagh Town Council.
“It has been the single most important project I have been working on since I became a Government Minister and I’m thrilled that all the hard work has paid off. Many people had tried to get this connection previously down through the years but it never got over the line. I was determined to make sure that I would,” he said.
Deputy Kelly said he had been “constantly working on it, lobbying, arguing for it or promoting Nenagh as the destination that needed the next gas connection”.
He thanked the members of Nenagh Gas Committee, which will stay in place to see the project through its implementation phase. The committee comprises Junior Minister Kelly, Conor Ryan, Arrabawn; Joe MacGrath, county manager; Marcus O’Connor, Nenagh town manager; Don O’Brien, ABP; Matt Muller, Abbey Court Hotel; John Conroy, Proctor & Gamble; Clodagh Cavanagh, Abbey Machinery, and Donncha Haverty, HKPB.
“In particular I have to pay a special thanks to Conor Ryan of Arrabawn and Joe MacGrath, manager, North Tipperary County Council. Conor worked tirelessly with me on this project. We were in constant contact. The provision of natural gas is crucial to the future of his company and its base in Nenagh. Joe played a huge role at critical junctures in the project and went out of his way to help get this across the line,” said the Labour Junior Minister.
The decision makes Nenagh’s companies more competitive, ensures companies and jobs are maintained as well as providing a strong base for companies to expand and provide more jobs. It positions Nenagh as one of the most attractive towns for inward investment, he said.
Nenagh Mayor Lalor McGee told the Tipperary Star that it was “great news” and the benefits would be felt in local industries, schools, Nenagh Hospital and all other Government buildings. He pointed out that natural gas would be available in residential areas, providing enough people showed interest in signing up for it.
Mayor McGee complimented Deputy Kelly and the Nenagh Gas Link Committee for “all the hard work” they had done over the past year, and paid a special tribute to county manager Joe MacGrath and town and county council staff.
The decision was also welcomed by Deputy Michael Lowry, who heralded the development as a “vital step forward”.
Full story in this week’s Tipperary Star