Shannon Free Zone

Shannon Free Zone is a 2.43 square kilometres (600 acres), international business park adjacent to Shannon Airport, County Clare, Ireland which is 18 km from Ennis and 20 km from Limerick. Businesses based on the site enjoyed special tax incentives on staff and profits until 2003. This attracted a large number of multinational companies. Currently there are over 100 international firms and 6,500 people employed at Shannon Free Zone in a diverse range of activities. Companies who have invested at Shannon include Avocent, DeBeers Industrial Diamonds (Now Element Six), Kraus & Naimer, GE Capital, Precision Castparts Corp., Genworth, Ingersoll Rand, Intel, John Crane, Lufthansa Technik, Mentor Graphics, Molex, Illinois Tool Works, RSA Security, Schwarz Pharma and Zimmer.

The Free Zone was managed by Shannon Development, an Irish government agency. It was established in 1959, as the world's first Free Trade Zone. It is now managed by Shannon Commercial Properties, a commercial semi-state company and part of Shannon Group plc.

In the late 1950's, with Shannon Airport almost entirely depending on transit passengers and refuelling for trans-Atlantic flights. The lack of support from the Government and the clear signs that commercial aircraft would soon have the range to bypass the airport threated the commercial viability of the Airport. Brendan O'Regan, the director of Shannon Airport submitted a proposal for a special manufacturing zone with special tax incentives to be created in the vicinity of the airport. This would create employment and promote Shannon Airport as a destination for air traffic in itself. The site adjacent to the airport was established in 1959, the second zone, Smithstown, a number of years later.[1]

A former tenant of the Free Zone was Transaero. This Russian airline went bankrupt in December 2016.[2] One of the planes, a Boeing 767, was left behind on Shannon Airport. This plane was later sold to David McGowan for use at a glamping site in Enniscrone in County Sligo.[3]


Coordinates: 52°42′18.93″N 8°53′58.24″W / 52.7052583°N 8.8995111°W / 52.7052583; -8.8995111

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