It was confirmed this week that the former Andersen Ireland plant in Rathkeale has been secured for the local community. It is expected that the site will be used as an enterprise centre for local companies seeking to create jobs in the town, and will be similar to the other enterprise centres already set up in the county.

A local group made up of the Rathkeale Community Council, Brian McEnery, Limerick City and County Council, Innovate Limerick, Cllr. Stephen Keary and Patrick O’Donovan TD was established after the closure of Andersen Ireland, and they have received the news that their plan for the site has been accepted by the property owners. The news comes shortly after government approval for a European Globalisation Fund for Rathkeale’s former Andersen workers.

Deputy O’Donovan and Cllr. Keary said they were delighted with the news that the former Andersen Plant in Rathkeale has been secured for the local community for the purpose of creating jobs in Rathkeale.

Cllr. Keary said: “Following the announce-ment of the closure, a small committee was established one evening on Rathkeale with a view to securing the plant for the community. We have in that time worked with the state agencies, government, the property owners and the local authority, and throughout the process we have not made any announcements or statements because we did not want to jeopardise the whole project.”

Patrick O’Donovan paid tribute to Brian McEnery and Limerick City and County Council through their new venture Innovate Limerick, without whose help, he said, the project could not be delivered. “Since our first meeting a huge amount of time has gone into trying to get this project over the line. We stuck with it to try to get the plant for the local community so that it could be used for the creation of badly needed jobs in the area. We were very lucky to have professional advice given to us on a voluntary basis and this made a huge difference to securing it.”