Massive jobs boost likely for Foynes

Foynes Port is set to benefit enormously from ambitious plans by the ESB, and Norway’s Equinor (previously Statoil), to build a €5 billion off-shore wind farm, according to its chairman David McGarry. The floating farm in the Atlantic is expected to begin generating power within the next decade, with the potential to service the needs of 1.6 million homes. “If we grasp this opportunity, we are potentially looking at tens of thousands of jobs right up and down the west coast. A very significant con-centration will be here on the Shannon Estuary thanks to our deep-water port, which is essential for supply-chain activity, but the opportunity really is limitless for the wider western seaboard,” McGarry told the Weekly Observer.
Said Chief Executive Pat Keating: “In addition, due to the scale of the Atlantic wind resource, Ireland could become a significant global renewable energy exporter. This will deliver a lucrative new revenue stream for the exchequer while transitioning to a low carbon economy.”
A recent Shannon Foynes Port Company report conservatively estimated that up to €12bn in associated supply chain investment could be located on the Shannon Estuary by 2050. Minister Patrick O’Donovan predicted: “This is transformative, not only for the region, but for the country.
The opportunities for the Shannon Estuary, I believe, can come in the area of engineering, servicing and maintenance of these enormous turbines. They will require huge crews of people both in terms of their construction and assembly and also in terms of their ongoing maint-enance. And that is where I think that the deep water of the Shannon Foynes Port Company is critical.”
Fellow Minister Niall Collins told this newspaper: “This is fantastic news for the mid-west region. It is a multi-billion euro programme of significant investments over the next decade, resulting in hundreds of jobs for the region. It will help Ireland to become a leader in green energy production.
“Offshore wind energy is crucial to Ireland protecting its energy security and meeting our important carbon reduction targets.”
Independent TD Richard O’Donoghue also warmly welcomed the announce-ment.