Established in 1959 the Shannon Free Zone Industrial Estate provided factories and
infrastructure with the purpose of attracting overseas companies. The strategy was
hugely successful and by the early 1960s large multi-nationals such as Rippen, Ei,
Lana Knit, SPS and Shannon Diamond and Carbide had established factories in Shannon.
The investment in the Free Zone provided the stimulus for economic growth in the
mid-west region. Since its inception the Shannon Free zone has become home to over
110 companies and has a labour force of approximately 6000.
In the early 1980s Smithstown began to develop as a centre for small indigenous industry.
It has continued to grow and develop and accommodates more than 30 small indigenous
companies in the manufacturing and service sectors. Located to the north of Shannon
Town the Estate links to the East Park Industrial Estate.