Up to 100 new jobs at new Shannon hangar

IAC at Shannon Airport are preparing for the opening of Ireland’s newest hanger which will create up to 100 new jobs.

International Aerospace Coatings (IAC) is the global leader in aircraft painting, interiors and graphics, and employs more than 100 staff already at its European headquarters based at Shannon Airport.

The new €18 million hanger developed by the Shannon Group and leased by IAC has been designed with sustainability and efficiency at the forefront, featuring LED lighting, maximum natural light, an air recirculation system and a heat recovery system for exhaust air.

It was the first hanger to be built in the country in 20 years, and boasts the widest door in Ireland at 90 metres, bigger than Croke Park.

Emmet Moran, V.P. Operations IAC said, “This new hangar completes our capability and allows IAC to cater for complete fleet work as per our customer requirements. This new hangar will accommodate all aircraft in service and aircraft under development such as the A350-1000 and Boeing 777X.”

Outgoing Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market & Data Protection Pat Breen said, “The successes of the aviation industry in Shannon is something we as a county should be very proud of as we continue to be the focus of the world’s largest aviation companies.

“IAC is one such company which continues to invest in the region and its people. Its ongoing expansion and plans to employ up to 100 new workers is a further boost of confidence for the aviation sector in Shannon and further job growth.

“It is also extremely encouraging for it’s students who are trained on site. It was a pleasure to meet the current class on Monday, and I was also pleased to become reacquainted with precious students of IAC who are now full time employees in a company that is going from strength to strength in Shannon.”

“I would like to congratulate the team at IAC including V.P. Operations Emmet Moran, Operations Manager John Mulqueen, Chief Operations Officer Peter Collins and all of the staff who have worked to make IAC Shannon the aircraft painting, interiors and graphics company of choice for the world’s biggest airlines,” added Minister Breen.

Photo Credit: Eugene McCafferty

Allergan to create 63 new jobs at Westport facility

Botox-manufacturer Allegan has just opened its €160 million biologics facility at its campus in Westport. The move will create an additional 63 positions at the facility and will bring its total investment in Ireland since it began operations to more than €750 million.

The Biologics 2 facility will feature new manufacturing suites, including a microbiology and cell-based laboratory with research and development capabilities. The global bio-pharmaceutical company recently celebrated the shipment of its 100 millionth vial of Botox from its Westport plant.

Vice president of global manufacturing and Westport site lead, Paul Coffey, said the new facility allows the company to meet “continued global demand for Allergan’s flagship products.” He said the investment “underpins Allergan’s commitment to advancement in the biologics arena.”

Rural and Community Development Minister Michael Ring said the move is a “vote of confidence in Mayo and the west”. “Allergan is a fantastic employer and it’s great to see it further cement its presence here in Westport. ”Speaking as a Westport native, he added that the company has had a “remarkably positive impact on the town and on the region.”

He went on: “I commend Allergan for putting their trust in the West of Ireland. With the new N5 road project from Turlough to Westport taking shape, our ability to attract investment and jobs into the region will only improve.”

Allergan has operations in Westport, Dublin and Galway.  Allergan’s Irish operations have grown significantly since it first opened its Westport plant in 1977 with just 25 employees.  Now the company boasts more than 1,200 staff in Westport, which is equivalent to around a fifth of the town’s population. (Article Reference: The Western People)

Limerick launches ambitious international marketing programme

‘Limerick: Atlantic Edge, European Embrace’ will articulate the city and county’s warmth and resilience for international and domestic markets.

‘Limerick: Atlantic Edge, European Embrace’ was launched recently, becoming the first major branding of the city and county to promote it nationally and globally as a destination for inward industry investment, tourism, education and for people to live and work in.

Developed by global creative agency M&C Saatchi, the new brand positioning will internationalise Limerick, placing it at the most dynamic global crossroads and capturing the sense of warmth and resilience of a historic city and county.

The creation of the Limerick brandmark involved key inputs from a range of stakeholders, from members of the public and business community during early stage focus groups through to students of LIT’s Limerick School of Art & Design – one of the top 50 third level art and design institutions in the world.

In addition to M&C Saatchi, the creative process also saw a number of local companies, including True Media, Limerick Printmakers, Treaty City Brewery, and Limerick Chocolate Shop, engaged by Limerick City and County Council, while Ireland’s largest marketing communications company, Core Media, will be involved in rolling out the programme nationally and internationally with a bespoke media buying campaign across traditional and social media.

A major multi-market campaign, ‘Percentages’, is a cornerstone of the programme which aims to quantify Limerick’s combination of edginess and friendliness. The character and culture of Limerick will also be articulated through a roll-out of Limerick ‘heroes’, which will see inspirational people tell their stories on video and become faces of the campaign to amplify the sense of edge and embrace that typifies the city and county.

These include aeronautical engineer and author Dr Norah Patten, who is hoping to become Ireland’s first astronaut; and Michelin-starred chef Michael Tweedie, acclaimed tattooist Ross Nagle, Ireland’s queen of style Celia Holman Lee, hurler Cian Lynch and climate activist and schoolgirl Saoirse Exton.

To broaden the brand’s reach and embed it into the various sectors across Limerick, a Brand Ambassador structure has been established. Founded on six pillars Tourism, Education, Business, Local/ Community, Culture and Media, each ambassador will help in the rollout and development of the brand, specific to their sector.


Launching the brand, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Michael Sheahan said that the brand positioning and campaign reflects the confidence across the city and county today.  “This is a real milestone for Limerick. We’ve had an economic transformation over the past decade and we are now rightly going out proudly to the rest of Ireland and the world and inviting them to experience our vibrant city and county. Whether through inward investment, coming here to enjoy our dynamic tourism offering or, indeed, coming to work in and enjoy the affordability of our city and county, we have a compelling offering here now and it’s right that we would take that to the world,” said Mayor Sheahan.

Said Dr Pat Daly, Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council: “This brand positioning and marketing campaign is a dynamic new asset for Limerick that will give us an edge to generate more inward investment, more tourism and more people to come and live and work here. In doing that they will join a city and county on a very exciting journey that will benefit all. Our ‘Limerick 2030: an Economic and Spatial Plan’ is a framework for the future. It was set in place in 2013 but we have already surpassed the job targets for it over a decade out. So now we go again and this brilliant new asset is a timely and exciting lever to propel us forward.”

Said Limerick City and County Council Head of Marketing & Communications Laura Ryan:  “A huge amount of work has gone into getting us here today but today is really just the start. We’ve captured the essence of Limerick and we now take that story to wherever we believe there are opportunities for Limerick. Today is a reflection of the new ambition that Limerick has.  The brand reflects the confidence of a transformed Limerick. A city that welcomes all, that has grit, determination and resilience in abundance and one that is at the world’s most dynamic crossroads, where Europe and the Atlantic meets.”

Mary Harris, Managing Partner, M&C Saatchi, said: “We’re incredibly proud to have taken the creative lead on developing the first brand for Limerick City and County. The brand and campaign we have developed represents a major statement of intent for Limerick and sets out its global ambitions. ‘Atlantic Edge, European Embrace’ immediately locates Limerick in the world and captures its grit, determination, and warmth. It also helps establish the City and County as the gateway to Ireland’s premier tourist proposition – the Wild Atlantic Way whilst underlining Limerick’s strong cultural links to Europe, both now and in the past. Working with Limerick has been a true delight – everyone we have encountered has been so generous with their time and their insight. There is a palpable passion for the county and a belief that the time is now for Limerick to come into its own and take its place on a global stage. It’s a very special place and I’m looking forward to seeing it fulfil its potential.”




Next Steps

The AEC Officer Network (AECO) has established a new committee structure whereby one AEC Officer will hold the position of Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson for a 12-month period.

Mary Wrafter of Mayo County Council is Chairperson until July 2020, with Jennifer Collins of Clare County Council as Vice-Chairperson. The role of secretary will remain shared among officers and a rotational system has been adopted. With officers located across all the counties of the AEC, the network will host virtual meetings where possible, in order to reduce travel time, reduce our carbon footprint, and improve the overall efficiency of the way in which the AEC operates.

The Enterprise Space Collector App will ‘go-live’ in Autumn 2019, with information on vacant enterprise space in 30 towns to be collected before September 2019.

The portal allows web searching by AEC (full region and by county), property type, property category and size (m2). The second phase will include the development of a dashboard (Q1 2020) for use by internal AEC stakeholders (Local Authorities, State Agencies, Regional Development Agencies, LEOs, Chambers of Commerce) as well as external interested parties.

The development of the AEC brand and shared content creation network along the West Coast will continue, and an AEC Communications and Branding Strategy will be developed.

An upgrade of the Atlantic Economic Corridor website will take place in Q3 and Q4 2019. A review will include the visual aspects of the website, including layout, format and style, as well as a full review of the content for each county and section of the website to ensure a geographical balance is obtained and increase the number of visitors. A review of communications, including the newsletter, social media and promotional material will take place in Q3 and Q4.

AEC Infrastructure Update

A key task for the AEC infrastructure strategy is to identify the factors that will shape the economic, social, political and environmental quality of our region. To achieve this, we need to identify critical relationships between overarching government plans, the current and future economy of the AEC and the environment.

We recognise that infrastructure is an enabler of economic growth and social wellbeing, but that investment in infrastructure must be supported by various non-infrastructure levers to achieve enduring economic growth.

Over the past 18 months, this has translated into building key relationships with national infrastructure and utility providers; facilitating workshops with national policy managers; building a coherent strategy for infrastructural investment in the AEC; engaging cohesively with EU and National public consultations for example Ten-T and WRC.
The vision is that the Infrastructure Group can be a platform to enable a ‘force multiplier’ effect by harnessing a coordinated and shared approach to infrastructural investment.

National Broadband Plan to invest €938m for the AEC counties over the 25 years.

In June, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross announced an initial allocation of over €8.85 million in exchequer grants to the airports of Donegal, Ireland West Airport Knock and Kerry under his department’s Regional Airports Programme. The allocations will go towards capital investment in the areas of safety and security.

Sligo Economic Forum

Sligo Economic Forum (SEF) was established in 2016 with a high-level strategic remit to support and boost the ability of Sligo’s economic partners to be the lead drivers in all matters of economic development for the county.

It consists of representatives from both private and public sectors, tasked with the responsibility of strategically planning and directing the economic vision for Sligo.

SEF acts as a primary driver in executing the outputs of the Atlantic Economic Corridor (AEC). Sligo’s AEC Officer provides quarterly updates to members allowing the forum to monitor progress, while also taking more specific responsibility in acting as the steering group for the implementation of actions outlined by the AEC Enterprise Subgroup.

SEF is currently finalising an Action Plan for Growth and Investment to further the economic, social and cultural development of the county. With stakeholder representation in both private and public enterprise, it is working to secure new investment in Sligo for infrastructure, overseas investment, business, education and community facilities. It exemplifies best practice in adopting a collaborative approach to economic development.

Boyle 2040

Roscommon County Council through its Town Centre Planning Unit worked extensively with the Boyle Town Team to develop a unique set of town centre rejuvenation plans (Boyle 2040) which were referenced in the Ireland 2040 National Development Planning Framework.

Boyle 2040 presents a framework for the comprehensive social and economic regeneration of the town core in keeping with the AEC aim of attracting investment, supporting job creation and improving the quality of life along the Corridor.

This significant town regeneration project will undertake a series of linked projects, including the refurbishment and conversion of the old Royal Hotel into an Enterprise Centre, exhibition space, information point and coffee dock, and the creation of a new riverside promenade, which will link the town centre to key tourism attractions.

This phase of the project will also include the development of a new Civic Space with acoustic shell, behind the existing hotel building and adjacent to the new riverside promenade.

AEC Collector App

One of the core objectives of the AEC Enterprise Working Group is to develop a practical approach to the re-purposing and development of property solutions for businesses in the Corridor.

To this end an audit of available enterprise spaces, including industrial properties, office spaces and sites for development, was conducted in the pilot towns of Ennis & Sligo.

Following on from the findings, and prior to the audit being rolled out in the other key towns along the corridor, the need for a standardised schema and database was acknowledged. On foot of this Peter Hynes, CE Mayo County Council and Chairman of the AEC Enterprise Working Group, took on the responsibility of developing and testing a template database and a collection app.

“Ultimately the result will be one standardised schema and methodology for collection of AEC data, which will feed into a ‘National’ dataset, to be used for the purpose of attracting economic development in the AEC Area”.

Under the guidance of Mary Wrafter, Mayo AEC Officer, the Collector App, utilising ArcGIS OnLine’s functionality along with the suite of mobile data collection apps on offer with this platform, was developed in-house and was rolled out to the AEC Officers in the nine AEC counties. The schemas developed were loosely based on the word documents supplied by the consultants, Shannon International Development Consultants who had previously carried out audits in the pilot towns of Ennis and Sligo. Following the successful development of the App, MCC also developed the AEC Available Enterprise Spaces Portal which is now being tested. This portal allows interested parties, worldwide, to search the AEC data base and map for available enterprise spaces by property type, category, size, county, town and all AEC area. The next phase will be the development of a dashboard.

To date, data has been collected on over 275 vacant enterprise spaces in the nine pilot towns with populations greater than 2,000. By the end of Q3, information will be collected on 30 towns in the region giving a comprehensive view of available industrial enterprise spaces for start-ups, growing companies or those wishing to relocate to the AEC region.


Collaboration with neighboring counties is nothing new for Leitrim County Council. In 2013, Leitrim and its partners established the Upper Shannon Erne Future Economy project (USEFE).

It is a joint initiative between the Local Authorities of Cavan, Leitrim, Longford, the ESB, Bord Na Mona and fellow Atlantic Economic Corridor (AEC) members Roscommon County Council. USEFE, like the AEC, is about creating something greater than the sum of its parts.

By working together within the AEC framework, Leitrim hopes to contribute towards a positive impact on the economic development of the region.  USEFE, is about creating something greater than the sum of its parts. By working together within the AEC framework, we can create initiatives that will have a positive impact on the economic development of the region. USEFE has successfully secured funding under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund to develop a network of linked hubs across three counties.

The hubs will provide physical locations where entrepreneurs and enterprises can avail of office and meeting spaces with the latest technologies and fastest broadband available.

Invest In Kerry

With a base of 13 FDI companies employing 2,000 people, Kerry continues to be an attractive location in which to do business and develop enterprise.

The ‘Invest in Kerry’ brand developed in partnership with IDA Ireland provides information and advice for companies looking to invest in the county. Kerry’s outward looking approach and strong work life balance has proved to be attractive for many companies and the county is home to some internationally known names like Fexco, Dairymaster, Liebherr, Borg Warner and Kerry Group.

The continued expansion of many of our multinationals proves that large companies can grow from a rural base into the international arena. Work continues with strategic partners on the establishment of Kerry as a centre of excellence in financial technology (Fintech) and agricultural technology (Agritech) which represent strong employment potential for the county. Kerry is host to considerable business networks and economic infrastructure including a number of digital enterprise hubs. Examples of these include, Kerry SciTech, the Tom Crean Business Centre, RDI Hub, Killarney Technology Innovation Centre, Dingle Creativity & Innovation Hub, Sneem Digital Hub, Castleisland Carnegie, Agritech Centre of Excellence, as well as a number of private hubs.