‘No preference’ on National Technology Park’s future

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

ENTERPRISE Minister Richard Bruton is remaining tight lipped on his preference for the future of the National Technology Park.

ENTERPRISE Minister Richard Bruton is remaining tight lipped on his preference for the future of the National Technology Park.

A new report has called for Shannon Development to be stripped of the responsibility of running the National Technology Park in Plassey, and the Raheen Industrial Estate.

Instead, either the IDA, or the new local authority should run the landbanks, which house major foreign direct investors in Limerick, including Vistakon, which announced 100 new jobs this week.

Mr Bruton said the government would act quickly on the report - but declined to go further.

“No dust will gather on this process. I am not going to express preferences. This has to e done against the best cost and benefit [predictions] to make sure we get the balance right,” he told reporters.

The Enterprise Minister added: “We want to make decisions over the coming months, which will ensure the best outcome for enterprise development, and the regional opportunities here. That work is ongoing, and decisions will be announced in due course.”

IDA chief executive Barry O’Leary played down the importance of the ownership of the two landbanks.

“The important thing is there is a good landbank available. The matter of the finer detail is under discussion at present. Whether it is in our ownership, or someone else’s, as long as it is available to investors, this is the most important part,” he said.

Mr O’Leary said the fact Johnson and Johnson is willing to invest €100m into its Vistakon plant is something the IDA job creation agency can use when selling Ireland as a business destination abroad.

“I have no doubt on the back of this investment, we will win further investments. We have a very strong cluster in the life sciences, pharmaceutical and medical devices sector, which are in place. This is incredibly important, and these are high skilled jobs,” he said.

Asked why he felt Johnson and Johnson chose further investment here, the IDA boss added: “A variety of things attract people to Ireland. The most important thing is the track record of like minded companies investing, and reinvesting. What companies look for is a cluster of like-minded companies, and of course here in the area you have companies like Teleflex and Cook Medical. This all helps make the decision for the Limerick area a better one.”

The 100 jobs at Vistakon are expected to be filled by the summer.