The Chief Executive of Shannon Foynes Port Company, Pat Keating, has said that the Foynes to Limerick road is a one of the key infrastructure elements that will assist in unlocking the Shannon Estuary’s potential as a global renewable energy and logistics hub.
Welcoming the approval of the road by An Bord Pleanála today, Mr Keating said that it is imperative that the development of the road is prioritised so we can capitalise on the unprecedented opportunity for the State from both floating offshore wind and improving the capacity of the national supply chain.
“The granting of approval for the road is a hugely welcome development as it is critical enabling infrastructure for realising the potential of the Shannon Estuary as a global floating offshore wind energy and associated alternative green fuels production, and logistics hub.
“The opportunity for the Estuary is at a scale that will be transformative from an economic perspective for the region and, indeed, the State. Moreover, it will have national and international impact on the fight against climate change as we have an infinite supply of renewable energy in the Atlantic accessed from the Shannon Estuary. These renewable resources will not only serve Irish energy demand but can also support Europe in unwinding its dependence on Russian gas by the production of green alternative fuels.
“But for all that to happen, we need to transform our port infrastructure and the 35km Limerick to Foynes road is an essential element of that. Together with the regeneration of the rail link from Limerick to Foynes, the contract for which is now out to tender, this will ensure the port has the type of connectivity essential for it to play this pivotal role in Ireland’s future.
“The road already has government backing through the National Development Plan and now has approval from the relevant planning authority. But we must ensure that the project is prioritised and that we can move quickly through to final approval stage and, ultimately, to the development of the road.”
Mr Keating said that the Foynes to Limerick road has been a priority for the port authority since the launch of our masterplan, Vision 2041, almost a decade ago. “Such is the opportunity for the Estuary now that we have engaged Bechtel, who are world leaders in strategic planning and development of ports, to update it. We see the granting of approval for the road as further validation of this opportunity.”
He added: “This new road facilitates the sustainable development of the immense renewable energy resources in the Atlantic by properly connecting the adjoining deepwater port of Foynes on the Shannon Estuary and as such is so much more than a road. It’s key to unlocking our green energy future as well as providing resilience on the national supply chain. So the commitment of the Mid-West Road Design Office, Limerick City and County Council, the wider stakeholder community and, indeed, An Bord Pleanála for its careful consideration, must be acknowledged in getting us to this important juncture.”