WHY IS THE IRISH Minister for Enterprise killing Shannon Development's initiative for the Atlantic Economic Zone? Is it because he wants to be shot of Shannon Development? Is it because he wants to elevate the role of the Industrial Development Authority? Does he want to kill the concept of decentralisation?
I am no fan of Shannon Development but the organisation has served its constituency well over the past five decades. It has counterbalanced the unfortunate gridlock that has developed on the east coast of Ireland due to the overconcentration of industrial development around Dublin.
Shannon Development could bankroll its own investments and deliver jobs to the regions at no cost to the Exchequer. Shannon Development could leverage its very credible network of business contacts into continued growth for a geographic area that always fails to achieve the hype of Dublin business parks.
It might make sense to eliminate repetitive positions by giving key responsibilities to IDA employees. But that should happen hand-in-glove with DA decentralising to Shannon offices. And that's not going to happen for years. In the meantime, if you have a good idea worthy of government funding in North Tipperary, plan to pitch in a Dublin office where they won't know your telephone prefix or local TD. And that's just the beginning of the disconnects. It's the region that will hurt if Shannon Development shrivels. But does the minister care?