Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey has confirmed that three Shannon companies and one from Ennis have been approved for funding in the latest round of the Regional Enterprise Development Fund.

The companies form part of the 14-member Emerald Aero Cluster Group which was established to enhance Ireland and the Mid West as a hub for global aerospace manufacturing excellence.

The group aims to create €20million worth of additional export revenues over the next three years, which it is estimated will result in the creation of as many as 200 new direct jobs.

According to Deputy Carey grant aid of between €20,000 and €250,000 has been approved to each of the recipient companies by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, through Enterprise Ireland.

Clare firms involved are Lenane Precision Ltd, Smithstown, Shannon; Shannon Precision Engineering and Thormac, both based on Shannon Industrial Estate and Panalok on the Gort Road Industrial Estate in Ennis.

Deputy Carey commented, “In this year’s Action Plan for Jobs, the Government decided to place a specific focus on strengthening the rural and regional economy. To stimulate regional growth, a €60 million competitive Regional Enterprise Development Fund will be provided over two calls.”

As chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Rural and Community Development, Deputy Carey said the Government must continually challenge itself on how to create jobs outside of the main cities and that’s exactly what this fund does.

“It will directly support innovative projects here in Clare and the Mid West region as a whole and in doing so, help to create rural jobs. By creating jobs in rural Ireland we can convince young people to live in rural areas. I would urge companies in our area to consider applying for the second round of funding early next year.

“The recovery is finally spreading into the regions. In the last twelve months, four out five jobs created were outside Dublin but there’s still a long way to go and no room for complacency,” said Deputy Carey.