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Massive development planned for east of Athlone

  • 22-06-2010 5:43pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭ Amtmann


    IT IS one of the most tantalising announcements in recent months -- promising to cut an entire region's dole queue.

    During an eyecatching PR exercise yesterday, Taoiseach Brian Cowen gave his blessing to a project designed to create 10,000 jobs on a 600-acre rural landbank.

    The plan is to build a hub dedicated to Chinese factories and other industries which would form a unique European HQ -- just outside Athlone, Co Westmeath. The so-called 'Chinese hub' would give Chinese industry doorstep-access to Europe for their products.

    Two thousand Chinese workers would also relocate here in the first phase, the backers claimed yesterday.

    Local developers paid €50m for the land at Creggan during the Celtic Tiger peak and, given the property crash, are keen to see the ambitious plan take off.

    But last night there were few specific details about the project.

    Employers

    If successful, the hub would be one of the biggest single private-sector employers in the country, even bigger than Intel or Hewlett Packard.

    However, similar ambitious projects that promised huge jobs dividends ended up being mothballed because they ran into planning, legal and financial difficulties.

    The Taoiseach confirmed he had met Chinese promoters and businessmen in a bid to hammer out a deal. "It's about exploring the potential of this idea and I have met with some of the promoters to see if we can proceed with it," Mr Cowen said. But he refused to speculate further on the creation of the proposed centre, claiming it is best to take a "step-by-step" approach. "The local authorities are making their constructive response to the ideas that are being put forward and what we have to do now is work with them and show that we are prepared to work with prospective investors to see what emerges," he said.

    Creation of the hub would require the rezoning of hundreds of acres of lands in the area of Creggan, on the Dublin side of Athlone.

    That process got under way yesterday at Westmeath County Council. Rezoning these lands would also provide for construction of a new school, railway station and hundreds of factory units and apartments.

    Junior Minister for local services Michael Finneran last night confirmed he had also met the project's promoters on a number of occasions. One such meeting took place in their Beijing office during his St Patrick's Day trip to China.

    Local Fianna Fail TD Mary O'Rourke also met with promoters from the UK, acting on behalf of the Chinese, as far back as 18 months ago.

    She said the "dramatic plans" were then shown to the local Chamber of Commerce and to Junior Minister Conor Lenihan. But the whole process went cold until recently, Ms O'Rourke said.

    It is understood project managers are keen to set up a trade base where clients can test and buy their products -- rather than having to take the long trip to China. However, one government source said things were still at a "very, very early preliminary stage of even talking" and that the Chinese investors were in talks with a number of other European cities. Mr Finneran last night stressed the project had yet to go through the formal planning processes and there were still a range of issues to be finalised.

    Efforts to contact the IDA and establish its level of involvement, if any, proved unsuccessful last night.

    - Eoghan MacConnell, Treacy Hogan and Aine Kerr

    Irish Independent
    AN AMBITIOUS plan that could see a major international trade centre based in Athlone has been discussed by Taoiseach Brian Cowen and the project’s promoters.

    The Irish Times understands a consortium of Chinese investors has been in talks with businessmen based in the midlands, including a local developer, solicitor and a restaurateur, for more than a year over the proposed project.

    The development, if it goes ahead, would be based within a 300 hectares site on the fringes of Athlone known as Creggan and could create a significant number of jobs, thought to be in the thousands.

    It is understood the IDA has also met with the Chinese group both in Ireland and in China, but the development body has declined to comment.

    In Tullamore yesterday, Mr Cowen said: “It’s about exploring the potential of this idea, and I have met with some of the promoters, some of the people involved, to work with everyone in the area to see if we can proceed with it.”

    It is understood the Chinese group has looked at a number of sites across Europe, and has yet to announce a final decision. It is thought the development would serve as a focal point for Chinese investment in Europe.

    Longford-Westmeath Fianna Fáil TD Mary O’Rourke said she met three of the Chinese promoters about 18 months ago in her home.

    “There were very elaborate plans all laid out on the floor. And, yes, that was the story they had; they wanted to make it a hub.”

    Ms O’Rourke said the group met Minister of State Conor Lenihan in Dublin. The promoters told her the first 2,500 jobs would be Asian nationals.

    She said she would like further information on the project.

    “I would like, of course, to see it progress, but I would like hard facts as well. I don’t want any project to be one that would give hope without any fact behind it.”

    Mr Cowen said Ireland was being viewed in a favourable light because of the “tough measures” being implemented to correct the public finances. “The country is being looked at positively by the international investment community because of the fact that we are taking these decisions,” he said yesterday.

    Athlone mayor Mark Cooney said the development would be a major boost for the region.

    “It would be marvellous for the town. It is served by the motorway directly off that area, by the Dublin/Galway railway line, so it has everything; all of the technical and major infrastructure is there in place.”

    Meanwhile, Irish financial advisory firm FGS is hosting a seminar entitled “Doing Business in China” in the Sheraton hotel in Athlone today.

    Announced several weeks ago, organisers say the conference is designed to provide information, relevant points of contact and interaction with others operating in the Chinese market.

    Speakers include representatives from the Chinese embassy and Enterprise Ireland.
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0622/1224273030638.html


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Comments

  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭ Sponge Bob


    This is pie in the sky FF property developer led bollix of the highest order. The IDA got Google to look at Athlone years ago and they said lets get out of here the minute they saw it.

    Still ........they already have a name for this thing in Chinese, 這是什麼他媽的


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,549 Judgement Day


    It reminds me of all the ****e talked when Hong Kong was handed back to the Chinese - remember Hong Kong was going to be relocated to Aberystwyth in Wales amongst other places. Probably Ireland too but my memory is dulled by sheer quantities of ****e it has been forced to absorb over the years.
    I assume nobody sees anything wrong with this project being promoted by Biffo in his own backyard? I assume that some FF mucksavage owns all the land? Anyway even if all comes to naught, just think of all the junketing trips to China for FAS/IDA/politicans etc.etc.etc. Whatever happened to that mad idea to bring Las Vegas to Two-mile-Borris? http://www.thurles.info/2009/10/23/casino-planned-for-two-mile-borris/:D


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭ Sponge Bob


    I assume that some FF mucksavage owns all the land?


    I took 這是什麼他媽的 as a given rather than bother assuming it :D


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭ Amtmann


    It reminds me of all the ****e talked when Hong Kong was handed back to the Chinese - remember Hong Kong was going to be relocated to Aberystwyth in Wales amongst other places. Probably Ireland too but my memory is dulled by sheer quantities of ****e it has been forced to absorb over the years.
    I assume nobody sees anything wrong with this project being promoted by Biffo in his own backyard? I assume that some FF mucksavage owns all the land? Anyway even if all comes to naught, just think of all the junketing trips to China for FAS/IDA/politicans etc.etc.etc. Whatever happened to that mad idea to bring Las Vegas to Two-mile-Borris? http://www.thurles.info/2009/10/23/casino-planned-for-two-mile-borris/:D

    The planning authority went back to the developer seeking more detail before making a decision. That's where it's at right now.


  • Registered Users Posts: 203 ✭✭ bacon&cabbage


    JEEz you just can't please some people.
    We constantly complain that the Govt is doing nothing and then when they do make an attempt at something we complain about that too.:rolleyes:

    Maybe this is 'pie in the sky' I don't know, but at least it's an attempt at something.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 12,839 ✭✭✭✭ galwayrush


    I wonder if the people who paid 50 million for the site are paid up members of FF.:rolleyes:


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,964 ✭✭✭ Chris_5339762


    This has Amgen written all over it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,081 ✭✭✭ veryangryman


    As a local, I am bloody-well delighted at this and am saddened by people who think that the region doesnt deserve this.

    Dublin will survive kids, dont worry


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,549 Judgement Day


    As a local, I am bloody-well delighted at this and am saddened by people who think that the region doesnt deserve this.

    Dublin will survive kids, dont worry

    I don't think anybody begrudges the east Athlone area getting a jobs boost but this has pre-election bull**** written all over it. :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,952 Lando Griffin


    As a local, I am bloody-well delighted at this and am saddened by people who think that the region doesnt deserve this.

    Dublin will survive kids, dont worry

    I heard Mary O talking about this on RTE Radio 1 this morning and saying the proposal was handed to her nephew 18 months ago who then handed it up the line to Clown. She has not heard anything since from him but the 2000 workers in phase one will be Chineese so no jobs there and five other countries are being touted including as usual the Germans.


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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭ Sponge Bob


    So in essence have sold Athlone to the Chinese as a 'special economic zone' complete with dormitories full of Chinese.....instead of filling the local ghost estates lying empty thereabouts ?? Unlike Chinese special economic zones that tend to be on the coast complete with the worlds largest container ports ours is as landlocked as it is possible to be.

    How utterly bizarre, even by FF standards. :(


  • Registered Users Posts: 72,795 ✭✭✭✭ Atlantic Dawn


    Mary "my campaigners worked like blacks" O'Rourke is involved, I hope she doesn't offend the Chinese by being such a general gombeen idiot :rolleyes:


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 254 ✭✭ The Word Is Bor


    I wonder will this require a new junction or an upgrading to an existing junction on the Athlone 'relief road'?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,549 Judgement Day


    Something like this. :D



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭ Nuttzz




  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,549 Judgement Day


    What happened to Euro Disney MkII then? More bull**** - if only there was a market for it Ireland would be World leaders.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,866 ✭✭✭✭ JupiterKid


    Sponge Bob wrote: »
    So in essence have sold Athlone to the Chinese as a 'special economic zone' complete with dormitories full of Chinese.....instead of filling the local ghost estates lying empty thereabouts ?? Unlike Chinese special economic zones that tend to be on the coast complete with the worlds largest container ports ours is as landlocked as it is possible to be.

    How utterly bizarre, even by FF standards. :(


    Oh, that won't be a problem. China will use its new super powerful space based lasers to blast a giant ship canal through the country to Athlone for its needs. In Chinese fashion with big projects, the people displaced will be offered to be rehoused in 250 square foot flats in the new development.:D

    And if the deal with the Chinese falls through, Sure we could get Mary O and Donie Cassidy to fly to Pyongyang to see if Kim Yong Il would be interested...:pac:


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,468 BluntGuy


    These kind of fantasy projects cannot substitute for an actual jobs policy. I don't begrude Athlone or any region their investment opportunities, but there is little point getting people's hopes up with drivel like this that is highly unlikely to ever come to fruition. At a time when what we really need is a coherent jobs strategy focussed on high-end manufacturing and exports, these one-off announcements amount to little more than simply another chance for Brian and Lenny to spin their spintastic spin:
    Mr Cowen said Ireland was being viewed in a favourable light because of the "tough measures" being implemented to correct the public finances. "The country is being looked at positively by the international investment community because of the fact that we are taking these decisions," he said yesterday.

    And spin they do.

    This quote is interesting:
    Local developers paid €50m for the land at Creggan during the Celtic Tiger peak and, given the property crash, are keen to see the ambitious plan take off.

    Of course they are. :rolleyes:




  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭ Sponge Bob


    Pat McDonagh of Supermac fame had a plan for an "arena" around this general part of Athlone. I personally find it hard to imagine that Pat would have been stupid enough to spend €50m on a farm outside Ahhhhloaane with development potential so it must be someone else.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 624 Aidan1


    This is pie in the sky FF property developer led bollix of the highest order.

    I don't often agree with this poster but ...


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  • Registered Users Posts: 523 ✭✭✭ Iomega Man


    Fairly typical.....everything to Shelbyville again


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,017 invinciblePRSTV


    Let's file this next to Offaly International airport and the Tipperary Superbowl arena.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,623 ✭✭✭ Bards


    expect more of this - I reckon it has got to do with all the land banks that NAMA overpaid for and now need to increase the value of in order to get a return on investment


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,698 ✭✭✭ D'Peoples Voice


    What happened to Euro Disney MkII then? More bull**** - if only there was a market for it Ireland would be World leaders.

    lads, lets not be so cynical,
    people were very quick to laugh back in 2008 when this was proposed
    but now in 2010........:D


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,549 Judgement Day


    lads, lets not be so cynical,
    people were very quick to laugh back in 2008 when this was proposed
    but now in 2010........:D

    Don't get your point? Having googled this project, which thankfully I had never even heard of, I can find no details regarding its construction or opening. Was it built or were you too being cynical? :D


  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 31,241 Mod ✭✭✭✭ dolanbaker


    I have a better chance of becoming fluent in Mandarin than this pie in the sky plan ever happening!

    我不說或能聽懂一個字愛爾蘭華人,但我可以訂購外賣。這是一個數字 2和75加1部分炒飯。



    PS you can even hear the transtation :D
    http://translate.google.com/#en|zh-TW|I%20do%20not%20speak%20or%20understand%20a%20single%20word%20of%20irish-chinese%2C%20but%20I%20can%20order%20a%20takeaway.%0D%0A%0D%0AThat's%20a%20number%20two%20and%20a%2075%20plus%20a%20portion%20of%20fried%20rice.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 595 the_dark_side


    it shouldn't matter to the Chinese investors who is in power in Ireland if they decide to open up shop in Athlone... so let no one think, 'oh, we'd better vote FF in the next election, because if we don't, the Chinese wont be coming..'
    Did it occur to anyone that this area of proposed development is right in Brian Lenihan's back yard


  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 31,241 Mod ✭✭✭✭ dolanbaker


    it shouldn't matter to the Chinese investors who is in power in Ireland if they decide to open up shop in Athlone... so let no one think, 'oh, we'd better vote FF in the next election, because if we don't, the Chinese wont be coming..'
    Did it occur to anyone that this area of proposed development is right in Brian Lenihan's electoral constituency

    Precisely the reason why (some of us) are not taking it seriously.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,583 mconigol


    :rolleyes:...how about announcing some actual jobs!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 12,839 ✭✭✭✭ galwayrush


    mconigol wrote: »
    :rolleyes:...how about announcing some actual jobs!

    'Good news days 'are saved for pre election bull **** announcements.:rolleyes:


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