Deputy Denis Naughten and Senator Maura Hopkins have both welcomed the allocation of Government funding of €2.75m and a further €900,000 by Roscommon County Council to develop a new life sciences innovation hub in Monksland in Athlone. Senator Hopkins has claimed that the funding was allocated on foot of her engagement on issues with Minister Michael Ring, while Denis Naughten has pointed out that he was a member of the initial sub-committee which developed the project,
The funding is to refurbish a disused building in Monksland Business Park into a life sciences and co-working hub to support existing rural enterprises requiring high speed broadband and support for start-up companies.
The hub will build on the software and life sciences businesses in the Monksland area and will be funded through the Rural Regeneration & Development Fund announced by Minister Michael Ring on Wednesday.
The project, which was initially spearheaded by Athlone Chamber and supported by Roscommon LEADER Partnership, is now being promoted in conjunction with Roscommon County Council and Enterprise Ireland.
Denis Naughten, who was a member of the initial sub-committee which developed the project, said: “Many small and start-up businesses outside of the main towns are struggling to access quality broadband that can make their enterprise a success and this project can help fill that void.
“Over time this project has expanded to become a potential key driver of new jobs not just in Monksland but in the towns around our region, by attracting innovative start-up companies into our area”.
Senator Hopkins said that she recently brought Minister Ring to Co. Roscommon and these funds had been secured as a result. She said: “I am pleased to have worked closely with Minister Ring and Roscommon County Council on this application. By supporting start-ups in the life sciences sector, it will consolidate the existing presence in the area and will provide a route to major growth in the pharma sector right across the region”.
Senator Hopkins concluded: “I want to thank Minister Michael Ring for making this funding available and I will be continuing to work closely with him to ensure that we can secure further investment for other projects to increase job opportunities across Roscommon and Galway”.