Cllr Joe Reilly at the site of the old British military barracks

800 jobs in the pipeline for Navan

Paul Murphy

The face of Navan could be about to change for decades to come with the news that the town is to get a new financial services centre, the biggest outside Dublin, with the potential to create 800 jobs.

The development, which is now under active discussion between the Navan-born owner of London-based Prepaid Financial Services, and Meath County Council, will see the construction of the financial centre on the site of the old British military barracks and De La Salle School off the Inner Relief Road. The initiative got under way up to two years ago when the CEO of Prepaid Financial Services and eCOMM Merchant Solutions Noel Moran, a native of the Commons Road, had discussions with Sinn Fein Cllr Joe Reilly, a former neighbour, during his term of office as Mayor of Navan.
Noel Moran and his Zimbabwean-born wife Valerie, partners in their company, outlined their future plans, including building up their existing business in Navan. Although CEO of a highly-successful financial company in the heart of London, Mr Moran was anxious to return to his roots and grow his company from Navan, providing jobs for the town in the process and services to the world financial markets.
Over periods of months, Cllr Reilly facilitated pre-planning meetings between the couple and Meath County Council's chief executive Jackie Maguire, Director of Services for Planning and Economic Development Kevin Stewart, Senior Planner Patrick Gallagher and other staff.
During this period, Mr Moran had purchased the site on the Inner Relief Road, which saw service as a barracks, school and textile factory and had commenced business in Navan's Market Square with 15 employees. Shortly afterwards the business moved to the IDA park where he and his wife now employ over 60 people, making PFS a large employer in Navan.
Plans are afoot for a land exchange between the company and the council which will involve an end of use of the existing car park on the Inner Relief Road and the building of a new car park across the road. Much of the land in question leads down to Poolboy Bridge.
Cllr Reilly said that the proposed development plans by the company had the potential to change the economic and physical face of Navan for generations to come. 'The granting of planning permission would allow the company to be the largest employer in Navan and larger than Tara Mines - that is the scale of the potential,' he said.
The company vision would see several hundred construction workers employed, and the centre itself would eventually employ up to 800 highly-qualified employees in the financial services industry and would make Navan one of the largest financial sectors outside of the IFSC in Dublin, the councillor said.
In addition it would open up the Blackwater river to the public and greatly enhance the river as a natural resource in the centre of Navan.
Facilitating the development will require the support and consent of members of Navan Municipal District Council and Meath County Council in transferring the council-owned lands to PFS in order to progress its plans.
If the members agree, the way will be open for PFS to lodge a planning application subject to the normal planning process.

'I would hope that in the interests of Navan and its people that the proposed plans are welcomed and it takes the shortest time possible to go through the planning process,' Cllr Reilly said.