IDA to start work on ‘concept building’ in Limerick’s national technology park

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

IDA to start work on ‘concept building’ in Limerick’s national technology park

IDA Ireland is to break ground on a new “concept building” in the National Technology Park, one of the agency’s top executives has said.

Michael Lohan, the agency’s head life sciences, engineering and industrial technology division, was one of the speakers at the recent annual Engineers Ireland conference, which this year took place in the Strand Hotel. He said the development could work as a “key enabler” to win investment to Limerick.

“It brings clarity and certainty to the investor and gives them a feed to market,” he said.

More than 200 delegates including engineers, planning and industry professionals were in Limerick for the event.

Entitled ‘Engineering a Region: Infrastructure, Industry and Innovation’, it aimed to reflect the need for a collaboration between industry, academia and innovators.

During the event, Dr Pat Daly, Limerick City and County Council’s economic director gave an overview of the Limerick 2030 scheme, which it’s envisaged will see vast swathes of the city centre transformed.

“The great thing about this region is we are known for collaboration and making things happen,” he said, “We will probably double our start-up firms in the indigenous space. At the moment, we’re probably landing two-plus foreign direct investments a month – some are announced, some aren’t.”

Dr Daly also outlined how the council used its own money to buy Troy Studios – now home to 325 workers a day – and rented upper floor space in County Hall, Dooradoyle, to General Motors, which has 200 people on its books now.

“When we amalgamated as an authority, the idea was we had some space available. [General Motors] had a need. Within a week, we had them on a licence to come in. They now employ 200 people providing support for the Opel cars, and perhaps doing work in the autonomous vehicle development,” he said.

Caroline Spillane, director general of Engineers Ireland said: “Our conference is timely given the publication by our government in February of the National Planning Framework and the €116bn National Development Plan, both elements of the ambitious Ireland 2040 initiative. Every objective in these plans will require the engineering community to play a significant role.”

Other speakers at the event included former British Labour party minister Lord Andrew Adonis, chief executive of Ervia Mike Quinn, Dr Kieran Feighan, president of Engineers Ireland, and Dr Emma Silke, the head of business development at ESB ecars.

Delegates attended a number of networking events organised by the Thomond region, including a golf outing at Castletroy Golf Cub, plus a welcome reception on the conference eve with motivational speaker John Burke.