First ever Limerick-China forum opens

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

EXCITING plans to potentially open a deep sea port on the docks to serve Chinese investors have been discussed at a high-level meeting this week.

EXCITING plans to potentially open a deep sea port on the docks to serve Chinese investors have been discussed at a high-level meeting this week.

Shannon Street accountancy firm McKeogh Gallagher Ryan, has hosted the first meeting of the Limerick-China Forum.

Chaired by Cllr Jim Long, it brought representatives from the business, education, hospitality and transport sectors together to formulate strategies to enhance the region’s ties with China.

The idea to foster links with China came from two visits to the Nanjing, and X-ian made by Cllr Long during his mayoralty.

With investors from Nanjing due in early March, the aim is to bring tourism and trade to the region.

The group includes Mary Considine of Shannon Airport, Fergal Barry of LIT, Cathal Bruga, an expert on doing business in China, and Mary McKeogh, who is advising on the forum’s structure.

The non-profit forum will focus on developing education, tourism, trade, commercial, airport and sea transport, and cultural ties between Limerick and the two Chinese cities.

It is a move which could give Limerick access to a market of tens of millions of people. “We don’t want to overspeculate, but it is safe to say we have them interested in Shannon, and this is top of our agenda for the visit in March. We have done down a positive road in relation to education, and the bringing in of foreign students,” Cllr Long said.

He said that the Chinese investors are also interested in potentially developing a deep sea port on Limerick’s Docks.

Ms McKeogh said the forum “represents a real opportunity to develop new commercial, education and tourism links with China, a vast market, and one which we are only beginning to access.”

Cllr Long concluded: “This is a real example of a local initiative where policy makers and commercial interests are aligned to help the Limerick-Shannon region source its own opportunities and secure its future.”