A €3 million EU grant for two key Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) projects is a major validation of plans to transform the Shannon Estuary into a national economic corridor.

The company will receive €2.2m funding for its East Jetty Infill Programme at Foynes Port and a further €800,000 for a feasibility study for the regeneration of the rail link between Limerick and the port. The funding round is the first that SFPC will receive under the EU’s Trans European Transport Network (TEN-T) pro-gramme for transport infrastructure projects.
SFPC CEO Pat Keating said that the grant aid not only provides key funding for two major projects, essential for the delivery of the company’s long-term masterplan Vision 2041, but is the most significant acknowledgement yet of the credibility of that plan and potential for advancing a major hub of economic activity along the est-uary.  He also said that progress must be main-tained on the N69 upgrade, another key pillar of the company’s master-plan.

Just one in three applications for the latest round of TEN-T funding was successful, and SFPC also received the maximum level of funding allowed – 20% of jetty works total costs and 50% for feasib-ility studies – for each project, another significant indicator of confidence in the company’s long-term plans for the estuary, said the CEO.

The East Jetty Infill Project was launched by Minister for Transport and Tourism Paschal Donohoe at Foy-nes in January and work is already well advanced and due for completion next spring.  It is the first phase in a seven year programme of quayside infrastructure development that will add over 35,000m2 of additional berthage.  

SFPC has also advanced the feasibility study for the Limerick to Foynes rail link regeneration. The €1.6m study includes site surveys of 83 structures on the line, including level crossings, bridges, under-passes, and 25 miles of track.
The study is due for completion in early 2017 and, subject to a positive outcome, it is envisaged that work will commence later in the year and be completed by the end of 2018. SFPC envisages the rail servicing specific niche markets but it is clear that road will be the primary hinterland connection due to origin/destination distances to the port.