Minister of State for Trade Promotion and Digital Transformation, Dara Calleary, turned the sod on the site of the new Advancing Innovation in Manufacturing (AIM) Centre in Sligo.
The new facility will focus on developing capability in cutting-edge manufacturing technology in companies across the North-West region.
This innovative project is driven by Atlantic Technological University (ATU), Sligo County Council and Leitrim County Council and is supported by the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment administered through Enterprise Ireland.
Speaking at the event, Minister Calleary said, “I am delighted to be here in Sligo to formally turn the sod on the new home for the AIM Centre at the old fire station at Market Yard. This is an ambitious, innovative project that will provide companies across the North-West with access to new and emerging manufacturing and supply chain management technology. There is a technological revolution occurring in this important sector and it is vital that Irish enterprise is ahead of the curve in adapting to change. As well as helping businesses adapt and become more competitive, projects such as this are crucial if we are to develop a resilient enterprise ecosystem to provide high-quality jobs and employment opportunities for people to live and prosper in all regions.”
“I would like to acknowledge the vision of Atlantic Technological University, Sligo County Council and Leitrim County Council in championing this important project, which my department is proud to support with funding of almost €2 million delivered through Enterprise Ireland’s Border Enterprise Development Fund.”
Welcoming the commencement of construction work, Councillor Michael Clarke, Cathaoirleach, Sligo County Council, said, “this marks a huge step forward in bringing this very innovative and forward-looking project to fruition. I want to acknowledge the huge effort, vision and collaboration of all the key players, including the Atlantic Technological University, Enterprise Ireland, Rhatigan Architects, the contractor, Joseph McMenamin & Sons Ltd., Julie Dowling, Director of the AIM project and of course my colleagues and staff in Sligo County Council. This project has the potential to be a gamechanger for industry in Sligo and beyond, while also boosting local trade.”
Dr Chris O’Malley, Vice President of Research, Innovation and Engagement with ATU said, “manufacturing is undergoing a technological revolution with tens of thousands of jobs at stake across our region. ATU is delighted to collaborate with Sligo County Council, Leitrim County Council and Enterprise Ireland in taking this initiative to help our companies address that challenge, drawing on the expertise and facilities across all the ATU campuses and partner networks across the country and beyond. It’s about putting knowledge at the service of the region.”
Recently appointed director of the AIM Centre, Julie Dowling said, “it is fantastic to see the renovation work on the old fire station commence. Whilst we await the use of our state-of-the art facility, several cutting-edge projects are already in-flight with businesses in the region. Currently the AIM team are operating out of Sligo ATU Innovation Centre. We have a team of experienced resources in the fields of artificial intelligence and analytics, robotics and automation, business strategy, research and engineering. Businesses are under pressure with ever changing landscapes brought about from Brexit and COVID-19, followed by an energy crisis, global inflation, and talent retention issues. New technology can assist organisations with such challenges, and the AIM centre have the resources to help find the optimal solution for them.”
Carol Gibbons, Divisional Manager, Regions and Local Enterprise, with Enterprise Ireland said, “it is really positive to see this great project coming to fruition with the formal sod turning today. I am confident that the knowledge and expertise located in the Aim Centre will be of immense benefit to companies across the North-West region as they use emerging technology to drive productivity and competitiveness. This project is one of 11 transformative projects currently being supported by Enterprise Ireland through the Border Enterprise Development Fund, a specific initiative to support entrepreneurship in the Border counties post-Brexit.”