Wednesday 31st August 2022: Government must fast-track the development of the Foynes to Limerick Road in the national interest given its role as a key enabler for the transformation of Shannon Estuary into a global floating offshore wind energy hub, Limerick Chamber has stated.
Welcoming the decision, announced today, by An Bord Pleanála to grant permission for the 35km road from Adare to Foynes, Limerick Chamber CEO Dee Ryan said that the Foynes to Limerick Road is one of key links in the supply-chain that will enable the Shannon Estuary become a critical part of the wider European response to climate change and dependence on Russian fossil fuels.
“Day by day we read of the urgency around energy security and climate change and while realising the incredible opportunity from floating offshore wind and related green fuels production is not a short-term play, so much needs to be done to make this happen that the time for action is now.
“We’ve got the offshore wind, we’ve got the deep-water harbour in the Shannon Estuary that is essential for the wind-turbine and related materials supply-chain but we need major investment in infrastructure to make this happen. That investment must start immediately and a key element is having a fit-for-purpose road and rail infrastructure.”
Ms Ryan said that the reinstatement of the rail link has moved to tender stage, but this will only be a partial solution. “Having the road network to support the supply chain is the most essential aspect of required connecting infrastructure. The current N69 Foynes to Limerick Road is wholly inadequate so this new road must be not alone treated as a priority in terms of the enabling infrastructure for realising the opportunity for the Shannon Estuary but a national priority.”
Ms Ryan continued: “We’ve got our own climate change targets that we look like falling short of in the near term. However, in the medium to long term we can not alone catch-up but become a world-leader in renewable energy. Europe is looking for short-term and longer-term answers to climate change and energy security and the Shannon Estuary and west coast can most definitely be the former.
“This an all- Ireland opportunity where we have the potential as a State to step forward with a key part of the solution needed to two of the biggest questions facing society today. So, let today’s announcement of planning for the road be the moment when we pick up the pace and begin delivering on that opportunity. Therefore, we are calling for this road to be fast-tracked and a concentrated focus be put on what else is needed so that we do not allow this unprecedented opportunity to pass us by.”
Ms Ryan, who complimented Limerick City and County Council and the Mid-West Road office on its exhaustive work on the project, said that the Foynes to Limerick Road will also be a significant piece of tourism infrastructure, not least for the hosting of Ryder Cup at Adare Manor in 2027.
“Limerick’s Adare Manor secured the event expected to attract 300,000 visitors over a two-week period in September of that year, providing Limerick and the Mid-West region with a huge opportunity to showcase our regional tourism and investment product to the world.
“This is a second key reason why the project must be accelerated as it 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 going forward.