Limerick ‘can be centre of research excellence’: Multi-million euro investment welcomed

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Senator Kieran O’Donnell, who was reacting to the news that IDA Ireland has identified the National Technology Park for a multi-million euro advanced manufacturing facility

Senator Kieran O’Donnell, who was reacting to the news that IDA Ireland has identified the National Technology Park for a multi-million euro advanced manufacturing facility

LIMERICK should now be seen as a “centre of excellence” for manufacturing research.

That’s according to Senator Kieran O’Donnell, who was reacting to the news that IDA Ireland has identified the National Technology Park for a multi-million euro advanced manufacturing facility.

Up to 100 high-tech research jobs look set to be created as part of the investment, which has seen Limerick beat a number of Irish cities for the right to build the centre.

Planning permission is being sought for the project which will see 60 construction workers building a two-storey complex featuring facilities to look at the future of manufacturing, plus research and development.

“This is a great news story for Limerick. It continues the bid for Limerick to become a centre of excellence. It's an area which Limerick city and the region should be seen as a centre of excellence for manufacturing. This is now being supported by the development agency responsible for foreign direct investment. With the whole area of Brexit, it is important we continue to be outward, export-driven and we are located within a stone's throw of major world manufacturing companies like Vistakon,” he added.

Speaking of the 3,009 square metre facility, IDA Ireland chief executive Martin Shanahan says it will service the entire Irish-based manufacturing sector – and these companies global clients.

“Manufacturing is a significant contributor to the Irish economy, directly employing 251,100 [people] and accounting for 32.1% of gross domestic product, a figure which is significantly higher than our European counterparts,” he said.

Business sources have indicated the capture of this project is being seen as a “great prize” for Limerick.

”A rigorous assessment was done. A lot of locations would have wanted this project,” they added.

It’s understood the jobs may start small in number, but will steadily grow across the next five years.

Mr Shanahan added: “The Advanced Manufacturing Centre will provide a collaborative environment focused on the acceleration of core platform technologies to digitise Ireland’s discrete manufacturing base and supply chain partners.”

It will allow the agency to tackle the “disruptive change” being felt in many market sectors, he said.​

“It is the diversity of manufacturing activity which causes one to consider Ireland’s competence in manufacturing. From the manufacture of 700 tonne cranes in Killarney, computer chips in Leixlip, to biologics manufacturing in Limerick, computer vision systems in Tuam and contact lenses in Waterford.

“Undoubtedly, Ireland punches above its weight in terms of serving global markets,” Mr Shanahan said.

A planning decision for the project is due on February 22.

Meanwhile, there is also other building work taking place in the park, with Edwards Lifesciences commencing its factory, which will see 600 workers eventually reach Limerick.