RTE Nationwide set to celebrate 60th anniversary of the Shannon Free Zone

Pictured on the roof of Universal House getting a birds-eye view of the Shannon Free Zone during a break in filming for the RTE Nationwide 60th anniversary special on Shannon Free Zone, airing this Friday 31st May at 7pm are from left: Nandi O’Sullivan, Head of Communications, Shannon Group, Mary Kennedy, RTE Nationwide Presenter and Ray O’Driscoll, Managing Director of Shannon Group’s property company, Shannon Commercial Properties.

NATIONWIDE on RTÉ One television will this Friday broadcast a special programme to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Shannon Free Zone.

The largest multi-sectoral business park outside of Dublin, Shannon Free Zone is managed by Shannon Group’s property company, Shannon Commercial Properties.

The Zone was founded in 1959 and was the brainchild of Dr Brendan O’Regan.

In an effort to entice foreign direct investment to the region, and provide much-needed jobs, Dr O’Regan came up with the concept of developing a special industrial zone with tax incentives adjacent to Shannon Airport.

Six decades later, Dr O ’Reagan’s legacy means there are now over 170 companies located in the Zone, employing over 8,000 people.

Presenter Mary Kennedy explores how the Zone has grown and developed, meeting Ray O’Driscoll, Managing Director of Shannon Commercial Properties, part of the Shannon Group, who fills her in on the history of the Shannon Free Zone, current developments and future plans.

“We are delighted to get the opportunity to showcase our 600-acre business park and companies located here,” said Ray O’Driscoll

“The Zone is home to over 60 aviation companies, Ireland’s largest aviation cluster.

“It is also the base for some of the world’s leading companies in the ICT, engineering, medical devices, manufacturing and financial services sectors.

“We are thrilled that the programme highlights the current development programme being undertaken in the business park to deliver 21st-century commercial property solutions for 21st-century companies,” added Mr O’Driscoll.

Ms Kennedy also visits Atlantic Aviation Group, where she talks to CEO Shane O’Neill and employee Kate Gallagher about how the company has evolved since its inception in 1962 by Aer Lingus, changing hands several times over the years, only to come full circle and back into Irish ownership since 2014.

Atlantic Aviation Group is just one of the companies that together form the largest Aviation/Aerospace cluster in Ireland, located in the Shannon Free Zone.

Zimmer Biomet is an orthopaedics manufacturing company located in the Zone for the last decade – Mary meets Site Leader Ireland for Zimmer Biomet, Claude Costelloe, who tells her about the knee replacement parts made at the facility, and the importance to the company of Corporate Social Responsibility and reaching out to the community.

Nationwide also visits Ei Electronics – a ‘hugely successful’, ‘wholly’ Irish-owned company for more than 30 years, and in existence for some 56 years. 

Ei Electronics designs and manufactures smoke and carbon dioxide alarms for the home. We hear how the three co-founders – Mick Guinee, Jim Duignan and Mike Byrne, rescued the company from closure in the 1980s, overseeing it as it went from strength to strength, until it now employs over 700 people from the region, and generates some 200 million euro in annual worldwide sales.


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