Investment boost for Shannon


13 Jun 2003

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Tánaiste Mary Harney TD delivered some good news for the Shannon region earlier this month with two announcements that will see millions of euro invested there, supporting indigenous and multinational developments.

In what has been described as “one of the largest R&D projects in Ireland in recent times”, Intel has decided to establish an €18.3m R&D project at its Communications Group Europe base in Shannon, to develop its next-generation mobile network processor. The project is aimed at the emerging 3G, wireless access and high speed broadband markets and is positioned to extend Intel’s network processor offering and product leadership.

In addition, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment announced that up to €14m has been invested in 11 start-up companies in the Shannon region. Some €10m will come from the private sector with the remainder coming from the State through Shannon Development.

It is envisaged that the 11 companies, which have come through Shannon Development’s InnovationWorks process, will create over 200 jobs over the next three to five years. Already 72 of these jobs are in place.

Intel’s R&D initiative, called the ‘Westport’ project, aims to provide a quantum leap in silicon technology and user programmability through its use of advanced techniques to manage data at wire speed while allowing vital functions such as encryption and authentication to run simultaneously. Making the announcement in Shannon, Harney said: “The Intel Communications Europe Westport project is one of the largest R&D projects undertaken in Ireland in recent times, and is exactly the type of knowledge-driven project that the Government aims to encourage under its R&D Capability Programme.”

The Tánaiste also announced that under the Government’s R&D Capability Grant Scheme, Intel Communications Europe would receive a €3.1m grant towards the project. This grant scheme is designed to encourage companies to build up their R&D function and expand this competence through participation by Irish-based R&D engineers in leading-edge projects. It is understood that the project will see the first use of 90-nanometre technology for network processor design taking place in Shannon.

Meanwhile the 11 local firms to receive funding under the InnovationWorks programme are involved in a number of technology areas including multimedia stream server technology; remote information monitoring and access using GSM/Internet as well as in-flight GSM systems. Listed county by county, they are: (Limerick) 3d Eagleview, eZee Global Software, HomeNet Communications, Internet Control Solutions, Taringold and Vlyte Holdings.

Three companies from Kerry – Brandon Products, Metpro and Altobridge – were earmarked for funding. The group was rounded out by two Clare-based firms, Fraysen Systems and XL Technology Services.

By John Kennedy