Published: Fri, 15 January 2016
Shannonside MEP and leader of Fine Gael in the European Parliament, Seán Kelly, has told the European Commission that they must not miss a vital opportunity to capitalise on the huge potential of Shannon Foynes Port, and to reap the benefits it offers in terms of Trade, Economic Growth and Energy Security.
The Kerry MEP, who yesterday (Wednesday) held a meeting in Brussels with Pat Keating, CEO of the Shannon Foynes Port Company and European Commission’s Mobility and Transport Directorate, spoke of the need for the EU to give recognition to the importance of the port in increasing Europe’s connectivity.
“Shannon Foynes is one of a limited number of terminals with deep water facilities in Europe – facilities that no other Irish port enjoys. With the Panama Canal set to double its capacity in 2016, there is an unprecedented opportunity for Europe and for Ireland to capitalise as Shannon Foynes can cater for the huge new vessels that will be coming through”
“We are asking the Commission to strategically extend the North Sea – Mediterranean Core Network Corridor under the Trans-European Transport Network to Shannon Foynes Port. The landscape has changed since these corridors were put in place and the port has since become more connected through important transport infrastructure being put in place with the new motorway and extended rail line”
“Being listed as part of this strategic corridor will bring increased funding and investor confidence to the local area and ultimately lead to significant job creation. Super tanker trade alone has potential to generate more than 3,000 jobs on the Shannon Estuary.”
“The future is becoming increasingly bright for the Shannon Estuary with the Shannon LNG terminal last year being identified as a key part of European energy strategy following a successful campaign in Brussels. Similar recognition for Shannon Foynes Port can see the region become a centre of International Trade as Chinese and US links intensify, and Europe seeks to diversify energy sources away from Russia.”
Mr. Kelly said that the meeting with the Commission was “extremely encouraging”, but that a lot of work is still to be done.
“As is often the case, this will not happen overnight. However we will be working hard to make the recognition of Shannon Foynes’ strategic importance for Europe a reality as early as possible. With strong governmental support and with the extremely innovative CEO Pat Keating at the forefront, I’m confident that the European Commission will take all of this on board and act on it,” he concluded.