McNamara urges regional cooperation on SDZ proposal

Independent Clare TD Michael McNamara has urged Clare County Council and the University of Limerick (UL) to engage fully and constructively with Limerick City and County Council and other regional interests in their bid to have the university campus in County Clare and its hinterland designated as an Economic Strategic Development Zone (SDZ).

Deputy McNamara said the proposal to develop a 21st century university town will require the full support of the local authority in Limerick and Oireachtas members across the Mid-West if it is the pass the initial hurdle of receiving SDZ designation from Darragh O’Brien, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

“The establishment of an SDZ has been targeted and zoned in successive Clare County Development Plans and is a long-term objective of both UL and Clare County Council,” explained Deputy McNamara. “The project was first announced in 2018 and it appears that progress has been slow in the intervening four years. However, it is better that the project garners the necessary support across the region before SDZ designation is sought.

“I fully support this proposal which is hugely ambitious both in terms of its scale and its scope,” he continued. “Securing SDZ designation is the first step on a long road that will also include the development of a detailed masterplan and extensive engagement with stakeholders and landowners before the proposal ever proceeds to construction stage. Regional buy-in is therefore required in these early stages if the project is to proceed.”

“I call on Limerick City and County Council and all Oireachtas members from across the Mid-West to show their support for the project, which presents significant potential for the economic development of the region and country,” concluded Deputy McNamara.