The Chief Executive Officer of Shannon Development, Dr. Vincent Cunnane has this week left the door open to the company expanding into South Tipperary as part of the proposed amalgamation of North and South Tipperary County Councils.
Shannon Development is already a major development player in North Tipperary, but Dr Cunnane has claimed that the increased local government structure envisaged by the amalgamation, would be very welcome and could well pave the way for the company to have a presence in the south of the county as well.
“It is quite possible that we would have a role to play in South Tipperary. We would see the amalgamation as being very positive in the same way as the proposed Limerick one is also. It is quite clear that Government policy is for larger local government structures and their empowerment. The amalgamations are being put forward as a means of driving economic development and as an economic development company, Shannon Development would see this as being positive. We are in North Tipperary and I could see us playing a significant role in South Tipperary as well. Everything is fluid at the moment and I think that regional companies like ourselves can play key roles in development of regions,” Dr Cunnane told The “Tipperary Star”.
Shannon Development cited the establishment of the 3.6 million Euro expansion of the Tipperary Technology Park as one of it’s highlights for 2010 in it’s annual report presented in Limerick. The building was opened in June 2010 and is the third building at the Tipperary Technology Park campus on the Racecourse Road. The investment topped the 7.4 million Euro mark at the park and the 21,500 sq ft, two storey building came in under budget having originally being touted as a 4 million Euro facility. Over 160 people are currently employed at the park generating a significant local impact and two new tenants have already taken up occupancy in the new building.
The report also highlights tourism investment in Terryglass Harbour amenity facilities and the lake Lookout in North Tipperary as part of it’s 8 million Euro investment in tourism projects, while a further 2 million Euro was invested in the Shannon Region Trails Project which includes funding for trails in North Tipperary and the Nenagh cycle hub.
North Tipperary was also part of the rollout of GPS programmes to assist visitors and tourists to get accurate information digitally. The initiative was as a result of a need identified for independent travellers looking for free, instant and accurate guidance and mapping information, on where to go and what to see and do when visiting parts of the county. The new technology provides more detailed, accurate and up to date information on tourism products and their locations around the Shannon region, including North Tipp. It is anticipated that the information on accommodation and visitor attractions will entice more overnight stays in the county and lead to a range of spin off benefits for tourism businesses and the service sector in the area.
With Shannon region tourism businesses reporting a 12% increase so far in 2011 compared with the same period last year, it is quite clear that tourism is the only game in town. Speaking at the launch Dr Cunnane, Chief Executive of Shannon Development said, “We are encouraged by the feedback we are getting so far this year from members of the tourism trade who are reporting increases of between 10-12% over the same period last year. While 2011 will continue to challenge certain tourism sectors, there are encouraging and tangible signs of growth,” he said.
Tourism employs over 25,000 people in the Shannon Development region in over 1000 companies which have created in excess of 39 million Euro in tourism revenue attracting almost 195,000 visitors and 484,000 bednights.
Commenting on Shannon Developments future plans, Dr Cunnane announced that the company is working on a new ten year strategic plan, which sets out a vision for the future development of the Shannon Region and the contribution which Shannon Development can make to economic recovery.
“By continuing our policy of priming the region for growth, we are confident that we can help the region take the steps needed to drive economic recovery. We recognise the scale of the task, but we are confident that with our ability, and the support of our partners, we can make it happen,” he said.
Mr John Brassil, Chairman of Shannon Development said, “ As we work through this time of economic turbulence it is important that we continue to put measures in place to ensure that when the current negative economic cycle ends, which it will, that our region will be well positioned to capitalise on all opportunities. Shannon Development is working with significant success to ensure that this will happen,” he said.