An Atlantic Economic Corridor Taskforce has been set up by the Government to give effect to regional development along Ireland’s western seaboard. The taskforce builds on proposals published last year by eight Chambers of Commerce groups, including Shannon and Ennis.

The initiative was launched by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny and Micheál Ring, Minister of State for Regional Economic Development. It is envisaged that the Atlantic Economic Corridor will contribute to effective regional development by creating sufficient scale in the west to match other regions in attracting investment, growing jobs and supporting local communities.

Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the taskforce, Mr Kenny said, “The proposal for an Atlantic Economic Corridor will play an important role in encouraging effective regional development. The Government has decided to establish this taskforce to enable a collaborative approach to be taken to progress and accelerate the proposal. We have many excellent assets to support a strong value proposition for investment along the western seaboard, but we need co-ordinated action to maximise the potential of those assets.

“Following the launch of Realising our Rural Potential: The Action Plan for Rural Development last January, the establishment of this taskforce is one of the actions committed to in the plan. Last month, we launched a public consultation on the National Planning Framework. These are two initiatives that the Government has set about identifying how we can achieve more effective regional development in order to share the benefits of economic and social progress throughout the country.

“The taskforce will provide an effective platform for collaboration between the public, private and community sectors. It will also develop a programme of practical steps to progress the longer term objective of the project.”

Minister Michael Ring, who will chair the taskforce, said there is huge potential in the proposed Atlantic Economic Corridor. It is absolutely vital that we work together to ensure that we maximise this potential in terms of natural resources, tourism, infrastructure and human capital, to increase the prosperity of the region and bring new investment to the cities and towns along the Atlantic seaboard.

“It is important that we create new opportunities for rural communities in the region. This is a long-term project, but I want the taskforce to achieve a number of short-term objectives over the coming months which will get us off to a good start.”