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Keena calls for 'glass half full' approach to Chinatown plans

Story by Tom Kelly

Wednesday, 27th February, 2013 4:33pm

Keena calls for 'glass half full' approach to Chinatown plans

A local Councillor has called for the promoters of so-called Chinatown trading hub in Athlone to be given the time and space to secure the necessary investors for the exciting project.

The potential benefits to Athlone and Midlands are massive according to Cllr Frankie Keena.

"People are crying out for something positive to happen on the job fronts as these severe austere times continue to hit home. Therefore it is important that any negative comments and remarks about this project are avoided and that people continue to look on it with the 'glass half full option,'" he stated.

The trading hub project team are continuing to work very hard behind the scenes and just this week a major Investment Forum is taking place in Shanghai with the sole purpose of marketing Athlone and Ireland to a large number of Chinese and SE Asian based potential investors.

"It has to be recognised and accepted that trying to secure such large scale international funds requires significant efforts and due diligence. Obviously investors will want to be assured that the terms and conditions are right, be comfortable with the location of the site and Ireland and also to know that there is a strong positive welcome in Ireland for the project. I am satisfied that all these can be assured," he said.

The current instability in the Euro and World markets does not help matters. But in saying this Ireland has a lot to offer in relation to attracting foreign direct investment to these shores; particularly our 12.5% corporation tax and the presence of a young highly educated multi lingual workforce are good incentives. Also the fact that we are the only English speaking country in the Euro zone is a major help, Cllr Keena believes.

"In saying all this I want to wish our local project promoters every best wishes at the forum in Shanghai this week and hopefully they will identify a number of key investors who would be interested in coming to Athlone to view the site and experience the hospitality that Athlone has to offer. These are all stepping stones that have to be crossed before this project can become a reality. It is a long process but it is important to put on the record that every effort is being made to secure these investors," he concluded.

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