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Athenry Business and Enterprise Development Plan

In October 1996 I, Tom Carr, John Lane, Joe Barrett and Luke Moran got together to look at Athenry from an industrial Development/Investment point of view.

We are all working for major multinationals and therefore had an inside view of what made any given location attractive from an industrial viewpoint. After many long nights in the A.D.C. office we came up with our “White Paper” an Enterprise and Development Plan which basically highlights all of Athenry’s strengths. We believe when all are listed they clearly show that Athenry is an ideal location for Business Development.

We examined the following areas.

1. Location: Athenry is particularly blessed with our proximity to Galway’s Industrial Estate, main road links, airport, docks and our strategic position in the centre of the Western Seaboard.

2. Existing Services: We examined our Commercial Banking, Light Engineering and Agricultural strengths.

We also highlight our excellent Educational and Training Campuses such as our local schools and the nearby Training Colleges and Universities. One of Ireland’s greatest assets right now is the quality of our graduates. Without this investment in education the Celtic Tiger would not now be roaring so loudly.

3. Social Environment: We wondered if people were aware of how many clubs and organisations exist in the parish of Athenry. We point out the diversity of activities underway in sports, leisure, community/self-development and cultural areas.

4. Existing Labour Skills: We chronicled the industries that residents of Athenry work in and then further broke it down by the type of jobs that our people do in those industries. The result is we have a highly skilled workforce living in Athenry.

5. Infrastructure: This was highlighted under the areas of Communications, Housing. E.S.B. supply, Land availability and Rail links plus others far too numerous to mention. While our existing infrastructure may not be able to support a heavy industry, it did help us in coming up with our eventual recommendations.

6. Education: This was examined in depth under the headings of Modern Technology like Computer Business, Mechanical and Electrical skills. The area of Agricultural Training was also examined.

7. Costs: In industry, costs are all-important. We show how our Labour, Land purchase, Construction services and Relocation costs are very competitive and again reinforces Athenry as an excellent location for Industrial Investment.

8. People: Finally and most importantly we examined our greatest asset – our people. We show our people’s willingness to embrace new opportunities and pinpointed our strong work ethic. Our flexibility, local achievement and stability were also portrayed.

That was our report but as we all know reports are useless unless they deliver recommendations and those recommendations are acted upon. There is another industrial revolution underway at the moment, one much more subtle than any revolution of the past.

The integration of Computer and Telecommunications Technology at the moment means that it is now possible to do business in any location and still be close to your customers. In our study it became evident that forty foot containers were never going to roll through Athenry in great numbers but we have another highway which we are under-utilising at the moment and that is our Digital Communications Network. Our hope is that our plan will help in attracting Call Centres (Factories of the future) and other Computer/ Telecommunications based industries to our area.

To this end we are currently selling our plan to local and hopefully in the future foreign investors. It will be easy to gauge our success but it will be a long slog and it will not happen overnight.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow team members John, Joe and Luke and to remind them the hard work is only starting! Also, my thanks to the many companies, organisations and institutions who helped us with the information in compiling our report.

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Written by Tom Carr

Published here 16 Feb 2023 and originally published December 1997

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