A NEW CITY OF ATHLONE
Athlone is located at the very heart of Ireland!
It's location on a major European navigable river, is so strategic, that it is hard to understand why Infrastructural Development, has been so neglected to date. Lack of political vision and will for change, can be the only logical explanation!
In order to for Athlone to develop into a major city, the infrastructural fundamentals need to be addressed. These can be broken down into the following:
1. Politics and the will for change.
2. Shannon Flooding & Climate Change
3. Communication links with the rest of Ireland.
4. City & Community Planning.
5. Business, Enterprise, Tourism and Agriculture
5. Financing & Economics
1. See The Politics of Change section for details.
2. The risk of devastating Shannon Flooding Event happening soon, is increasing all the time due to Climate Change. In order for flooding to be controlled, a new Sluice Dam at the mouth of Lough Ree becomes an essential requirement. River flow volume can then be controlled as far as Lough Derg. The existing Athlone Weir should then be removed and, the river bed lowered upstream as far as the Sluice Dam. This has the effect of increasing the height of the existing Athlone Quay Walls. A lowered river bed also gives increased navigational clearance under existing bridges.
3. A Shannon Navigation will link Athlone with the rest of Europe by water. Barge transportation costs are a fraction of road and rail transportation costs and, the economics of many European Cities is based on Canal Transportation. see Port of Nuremberg:
4. City & Community Infrastructure requires Comprehensive Planning. Only when the flooding issue is resolved, does the floodplain becomes available for City Development. A new University Hospital serving the Midlands Region, is but one obvious Public Health Requirement.
5. Business & Enterprise need well-planned & coordinated infrastructure in order to thrive and prosper. The low-cost transportation opportunities created by a Shannon Navigation are endless. They include import and export of goods from across the World to Athlone, which then becomes a Distribution Warehouse to the rest of Ireland.
There is a new opportunity for Farming to move away from the uneconomic beef fattening model, and return to more sustainable crops, such as high-yielding hemp, which was once grown in Ireland and has a multiplicity of beneficial uses, including eco-friendly house insulation. The Shannon Navigation opens the Shannon to the Cruise Boat Industry and the employment benefits of Tourism.
6. Finance is available from the EU for multi-modal transportation under the TEN-T Programme. Shipping charges can be introduced. Land rezoning permit charges can be implemented. Land can remain in State ownership and let to Developers on long-lease. In this way, capital value and international borrowing capacity, remains in State control. A fair taxation system can be implemented, where multinational and local businesses are treated equally.