Minister Coveney welcomes significant progress in implementing recommendations from the Shannon Estuary Economic Taskforce


Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney TD has welcomed significant progress in implementing recommendations from the Shannon Estuary Economic Taskforce as the first 6-monthly progress report was published today (Shannon Estuary Economic Taskforce Report: Implementation Update) and said that government will continue work to realise the potential for the Shannon Estuary region to be Ireland’s powerhouse of the 21st century.

Last July the Shannon Estuary Economic Taskforce Final Report was launched by the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications and Transport Eamonn Ryan, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney and Minister for Education Norma Foley.

The Taskforce’s report set out a vision for the Shannon Estuary to be at the centre of Ireland’s new industrial revolution taking its inspiration from the original Shannon Scheme at Ardnacrusha. At the launch, the Taoiseach and Ministers endorsed this view of the future which will see an economy and society powered by secure renewable energy enabled by world-class infrastructure and digital networks.

The Taskforce proposed that implementation of its recommendations would be overseen centrally by the Department of An Taoiseach and subject to 6-monthly progress reports coordinated by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

Today’s first 6-monthly report demonstrates that there has been significant progress across the breadth of recommendations made by the Taskforce as they relate to renewable energy, industry, transport, and tourism. This includes the establishment of the Marine Area Regulatory Authority, the development of an Industrial Strategy for Offshore Wind, a Private Wires Consultation, the publication of a National Hydrogen Strategy and Interconnection Policy, additional resources being sanctioned for key regulatory bodies such as An Bord Pleanála, the accelerated delivery of the Adare Bypass and others. It also identifies that many of the recommendations remain subject to detailed consideration across government in recognition of their complexity and long-term focus.

Government will also be assessing the potential for accelerating the development of a West Coast Designated Maritime Area Plan (DMAP) and examining the cost and viability of initiating floating offshore wind projects in this DMAP as Ireland seeks to support the development of this sector.

Commenting on the Implementation Update, Minister Coveney said:

“On July 8th in Ardnacrusha at the launch of the Taskforce’s Final Report, I strongly welcomed the future vision for the Shannon Estuary region put forward alongside an ambitious and comprehensive action plan. The vision of a new industrial revolution powered by an abundant supply of renewable energy offering transformative opportunities for balanced regional economic growth is wholly consistent with the government’s White Paper on Enterprise.

“Government has made important strides in turning this vision into a reality over the past 6 months, but the journey is just beginning. I’m acutely aware that the Taskforce will expect more of government and that we continue to see progress continuing and indeed accelerating over the course of 2024 as we develop our offshore wind ambitions further. My department will continue to work with colleagues right across government to deliver on this.”

The Taskforce Chairman, Barry O'Sullivan said:

“On behalf of the Taskforce, I welcome the first progress update in respect of recommendations made by the Shannon Estuary Economic Taskforce. The Taskforce’s major area of focus was in respect of the deployment at scale of offshore wind off the Shannon Estuary which can serve regional, national and European energy needs. This can be transformative for the economic and social fabric of the region. To deliver on this ambition, we advocated that major national policies needed to be put in place by Government to allow for the expedited deployment of offshore wind.

“While it is encouraging to see progress at the national policy level, the Taskforce strongly recommends that a greater level of ambition and speed is required right across Government in relation to offshore wind. This includes developing port infrastructure, expediting planning procedures and providing for a West Coast DMAP [Designated Maritime Area Plan]. In that respect, I warmly welcome Government’s commitment to assess the potential for accelerating the development of a West Coast DMAP. I look forward to tangible progress being made in forthcoming progress reports.”