Limerick Northern Distributor Road has potential to unlock capacity constraints and trigger further inward investment – say major employers
Failure to develop Limerick’s planned Northern Distributor Road would impact negatively on future investment potential and jobs at the National Technology Park, leading multi-national employers and the IDA have said.
In an unprecedented move that reemphasises the need for the new road, three of the largest FDI employers – Johnson & Johnson Vision’, Cook Medical and Northern Trust – with a combined work force of over 3,300 people and the IDA have come together to state their concerns that rejection of the proposed road by councillors would be a significant regressive step for the city, county and region and send the wrong signal to inward investors.
A spur from the Limerick Northern Distributor Road (LNDR) is seen as the panacea to existing capacity constraints on the main road through the National Technology Park (NTP) and UL, which has up to 40 minute delays that will deny further expansion and investment into the area.
The closing date for submissions from stakeholders and the wider public on the LNDR is Monday next, March 27th.
Limerick City and County Council members will vote in May on incorporating the suggested corridor for the new road into the County Development Plan. Clare County Council, which has responsibility for areas that the proposed road will also traverse, has already approved the project in its Development Plan.
While the project cannot proceed without its inclusion in the County Development Plan, the planning authority that will make the ultimate decision on whether or not the road goes ahead will be An Bord Pleanala.
But according to the FDI companies and the IDA, rejecting the Northern Distributor Road at County Development Plan stage would be a major set-back for Limerick and the region. It would, they said, fly in the face of hard earned and growing reputation of Limerick and the Mid-West region as a leading inward investment location and, in particular, restrain the National Technology Park’s job creation potential.
Said IDA Business & Relationship Manager, Mid West Region Niall O’Callaghan: “The Limerick Northern Distributor Road is essential as it would unlock current capacity constraints surrounding the National Technology Park, and further enhance the Mid-West’s value proposition as being an accessible location to do business. Ultimately it will improve the potential of further investments from both existing client companies and new names who may consider the region into the future.
“Limerick and the Mid-West have been the great success story of the Irish economic recovery. This is now the fastest growing region in Ireland for FDI investments and that is a huge turn around since we launched our Regional Strategy in 2015. It hasn’t happened by chance but rather through a sustained and collective effort by all of our regional stakeholders. Not including the Northern Distributor Road in the county development plan would run contrary with the pro-business reputation that all stakeholders have worked so hard collectively to build over the recent past and would be a regressive message.”
Said Barry O’Sullivan, Johnson & Johnson Vision Plant Manager and Chairman of the Action Plan for Jobs for the Mid West: “Our region needs modern infrastructure to remain competitive, both to hold existing investment and to attract future jobs. A strong Limerick is key to growth across the wider region.
“This road is vital and it would be disastrous for future development and future jobs in the National Technology Park if it were to be rejected again. It will relieve both the National Technology Park and neighbouring areas of the current congestion issues and open it up for further investment, expansion and job creation, continuing the success story that Limerick has become.”
Said Bill Doherty, Executive Vice President, EMEA, Cook Medical: We understand that there are some concerns out there about the potential impact of the road but modern engineering and a fully transparent planning process presided over by An Bord Pleanala are obliged to address those issues. The planning process is there to look after those interests but local authority members must not deny that process, not least when it would mean that it has the capacity to deny this part of Limerick considerable future investment.
“The obligation must be to look after the concerns that people have and get them the assurances they need so that their lives are not just unaffected but improved by the upswing this road will bring for current and future generations.”
Said Catherine Duffy, General Manager of Northern Trust: “Limerick has climbed a huge hill over recent years and the last thing it needs is to trip itself up and deny future progress, which is what rejecting this road would do.
“The National Technology Park is one of jewels in the crown locally and it has the capacity to attract thousands of more jobs over the coming years but it would be incomprehensible were the city and region to be denied this opportunity. It is time for local authority members to stand up for Limerick and the region.”
More information can be found at www.limerick.ie/council/limerick-northern-distributor-road. Final submissions from stakeholders and the wider public on the LNDR can be made to the Forward/Strategic Planning Section, Economic Development, Limerick City and County Council, 7/8 Patrick Street, Limerick or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org ahead of close of business on Monday, 27th March.