Limerick - Economy

Economy

Limerick is at the heart of the region dubbed "the Midwest". Also known as the "Shannon Region", this is primarily an economic and social concept. The region encompasses County Limerick, County Clare, North County Tipperary and Northwest County Kerry, with its focal point centred on Limerick and its environs within an eight-kilometre (five-mile) radius.

The area is possibly the main economic region outside of Dublin and Cork. Its economic success has been driven in part by the University of Limerick, Limerick Institute of Technology, Shannon Airport in Co. Clare and Shannon Development (an economic development agency), whose precursor was SFADCO (Shannon Free Airport Development Company), an economic agency that provided tax incentives to companies locating in the area surrounding Shannon Airport. As of 2006 Shannon Development is mostly concerned with disposing of valuable industrial park properties. Limerick Chamber of Commerce, the voice of business in the region, is a thriving organisation. Limerick Chamber will celebrate its bicentennial/bicentenary in 2015.

Historically Limerick was an agricultural commodity-driven economy, due to its position as the first major port along the River Shannon. The city was one of the main meat processing areas in Ireland, and industry included confectionery and flour production. The city was known for its Bacon Industry however this went into decline in the mid 20th Century.

In line with the changing economic landscape in Ireland, many multinational companies are based in Limerick. Dell had its main European Manufacturing Facility at the Raheen Business Park however in January 2009 Dell announced that it would close its Limerick computer manufacturing plant and move the production lines to Poland. The facility was the largest Dell manufacturing plant outside the United States and produced 30,000–60,000 units per day for export to the EMEA. Dell remains one of the largest employers in the mid-west with over 1,000 people employed in service and support. Analog Devices has its European manufacturing base in Raheen, 3 km south-west of the city centre. The site employs more than 1,000 people. Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Vistakon (the world's largest manufacturer of contact lenses) has a large facility in Castletroy in the National Technology Park and also employs close to 1,000 people. It is Vistakon's only production facility outside the United States and one of the largest contact-lens manufacturing plants in the world.

The recent economic recession in Ireland has had a profound effect on Limerick. The announcement in 2009 that Dell was to move its manufacturing facility from Limerick to Poland has devastated the local economy. 1900 jobs were lost at Dell and it is believed that for every job that was lost at Dell at least another 4 to 5 were at risk. The closure of the Dell manufacturing facility amounted to 2% of Ireland's national GDP. The downturn in the construction industry has also cost many jobs as has the stalled Limerick regeneration programme which promised a massive investment in Limerick's deprived city areas. As of 2012 unemployment has become a major problem across the city with the unemployment rate in the city at 28.6% which is almost twice the national average.

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Famous quotes containing the word economy:

    The aim of the laborer should be, not to get his living, to get “a good job,” but to perform well a certain work; and, even in a pecuniary sense, it would be economy for a town to pay its laborers so well that they would not feel that they were working for low ends, as for a livelihood merely, but for scientific, or even moral ends. Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    Quidquid luce fuit tenebris agit: but also the other way around. What we experience in dreams, so long as we experience it frequently, is in the end just as much a part of the total economy of our soul as anything we “really” experience: because of it we are richer or poorer, are sensitive to one need more or less, and are eventually guided a little by our dream-habits in broad daylight and even in the most cheerful moments occupying our waking spirit.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)

    The counting-room maxims liberally expounded are laws of the Universe. The merchant’s economy is a coarse symbol of the soul’s economy. It is, to spend for power, and not for pleasure.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)