PLANS for a new approach to the future economic development of the Shannon Estuary were launched by the Government on Friday but are meaningless unless the State takes positive action in regard to the Shannon LNG plant, locals say.
Minister of State for Housing and Planning Jan O'Sullivan launched the Draft Strategic Integrated Framework Plan for the Shannon Estuary on Friday last. It aims to increase energy, fishing, aviation and cruise liner industry along the estuary by planning for its future as one, single entity.
Key sites have been identified for the economic development of the estuary , including the Ballylongford Landbank, Tarbert Island and Carrig Island. Residents of the estuary in north Kerry, however, say the time is past for plans and talk.
"Of course we welcome anything that provides for the development of the estuary but the time for plans and talk is past, it's action we need now to create jobs that are vitally-needed here," Tarbert Development Association spokesperson John Fox told The Kerryman.
The Shannon LNG project is still stalled amid red- tape seven years after it was first mooted.
"We're sick of hearing so many promises about industry on the landbank, we've heard everything from smelters to oil refineries over the past 50 years and not one single job was created.
"Meanwhile, the only agency that was actually doing something, Shannon Development, was taken out of Kerry and its rental money on its Kerry properties is now going to Shannon Airport!" Mr Fox said.
Minister O'Sullivan welcomed the fact that the plan brought all agencies on the estuary together, including Kerry, Limerick and Clare county councils.
Mayor of Kerry Terry O'Brien welcomed the strategy: "This is a very exciting initiative for the Shannon Estuary and for the counties of Clare, Limerick and Kerry," he said.