Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan, Prof Edmond Magner, UL, Minister Heather Humphreys, Jon O Halloran, Ciaran Seoighe, Minister Paschal Donohoe, Luuk van der Wielen and Dr. Puneet Saidha
ENTERPRISE Minister Heather Humphreys has defended the low yield of jobs from one of the key projects in the Limerick Twenty Thirty portfolio.
As revealed by the Limerick Leader last week, aircraft leasing firm Nordic Aviation Capital is set to take over almost all of the Gardens International office development in Henry Street.
The firm employs 80 people, and it’s unclear by how much its headcount will expand.
But before the building was completed, there were projections it could deliver 700 new office positions to the city.
Speaking on a visit to the University of Limerick, Ms Humphreys said: “I think what is important to remember that 100 jobs, these are families. I think 100 jobs are really very good and what we want to do is work with these companies to see what other opportunities there are to increase their presence here in Limerick. A lot of good work is going on here and I have no doubt Limerick will continue to be a very attractive place to do some business.”
She believes the company will still increase its presence in Limerick, a sentiment echoed by Senator Maria Byrne.
“You cannot create all of these jobs on the one day,” she pointed out.
Ms Byrne said: “I do believe Nordic is looking at further employment, but we just have to wait and see, and obviously they have to work through the process.”
Senator Kieran O’Donnell added: “Nordic Air is a great employer and Gardens is an iconic building. It’s the start of many other projects - the Cleeves site, the Opera site. It’s an integrated plan for the city.
“I think we're going to see exciting things happening in our city centre over the next number of years,” he added. Meanwhile, Ms Humphreys unveiled details of a new €100m disruptive technologies scheme.
“What this is about is investing in research and development by companies engaging with universities. It’s very much a collaborative effort across the board. We’re living in a changing world, so what the disruptive technologies fund aims to do is to prepare us for the world of tomorrow,” she explained.
“This will make sure our industries in this area will remain competitive, they will remain at the cutting edge in terms of new products and new solutions they will bring to their suppliers and on a global basis,” she added.