Talbot Hotel - Tommy and Orla Talbot with staff
“Corrib gave us the confidence to invest in our hotel” Tommy and Orla Talbot

At a time when the rest of the country was stuck in recession, the Erris area of North Mayo experienced a boom because of the work created by the Corrib gas project.

From 2004–2014 an average of 1,250 people were employed on the various Corrib-related construction sites. Employment peaked at 1,500 in 2009, the worst year of the economic downturn.

All contractors and sub-contractors working on Corrib focussed hard on generating local content. As a result, half of those working on the project came from Erris itself or from other parts of Co. Mayo. Meanwhile, those workers who hailed from further afield provided a major boost to local businesses, especially those based in the town of Belmullet.

Veroica Reilly, a member of the committee of the local Rural Tourism Co-Op Iorras Domhnann,  who runs a B&B in the town, is in no doubt about the importance of the business generated for accommodation providers by the project.

“Corrib has been great for the accommodation sector. This benefit was felt more keenly in the winter months. We would not normally have a strong winter business but because of the project, we’ve had a solid all year around accommodation business in recent years,” she says.

Investing in the Future

Tommy and Orla Talbot started their pub and restaurant business ten years ago with two full-time employees. They now have twenty-four people employed full time and have invested over €5m in their businesses over the past five years.

“The reality is that without the Corrib project we could not have invested in this area,” says Orla.

Enda Brogan and his wife Sandra have also developed a major leisure complex and restaurant in Belmullet. “Our business has benefitted both directly and indirectly from the project.

“We are a family-orientated business and a huge number of families in the area are connected in some way to Corrib. They have money in their pockets and they spend some of it with us. We started here in April 2009. We knew it would be a difficult journey but it has been made far easier because of the gas,” Enda added.

Business owners standing outside their leisure complex
“Our business has grown by 46%” Enda and Sandra Brogan, Gateway Leisureplex.

Economic and social dividends

In 2010, economic consultants Goodbody estimated that the Corrib gas project would contribute €4.4billion to the Irish economy. Eight Mayo towns were added to the national gas network, enhancing the county’s attractiveness as a location for industry.

Shell has also contributed €13.5m towards local social, sporting and community amenities in the area.

John Gallagher is Chairman of Belmullet GAA club. “Everyone can see the benefits of the project in terms of jobs and the money that is in circulation in the area. What is not so obvious is the tremendous commitment Shell has made in the area of community development. This has been immense and will have long-lasting impacts,” he said.

There will be up to 170 long-term jobs on the terminal after construction work on the Corrib gas project has finished.  The Corrib project is now technically complete with first gas expected to flow shortly.

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