The Commission for Energy Regulation has given the go-ahead for work on the pipeline for the Shannon Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal, in Tarbert, Co Kerry, to start.
The 26km pipeline will connect the terminal, at Kilcolgan Lower, Tarbert, to the national gas grid, west of Foynes, Co Limerick, bringing gas to Co Kerry for the first time.
According to the Construction Industry Federation (CFI), thousands of jobs have been lost in the building industry in the county. Numbers on the Live Register in Kerry now exceed 15,000, doubling in three years.
Kerry North Fine Gael TD Jimmy Deenihan said the gas pipeline would provide an essential boost to the local economy.
"Unemployment in the area stretching from Tralee to Tarbert has doubled in the past two years. We have seen one factory after another closing down," he said. The deputy said the gas project would have economic benefits for Kerry for years to come.
Calling for more capital investment in the area by the Government, he said only one school, Mercy Mounthawk, Tralee, had been provided in north Kerry since 1998.
In contrast, 10 new schools had been built in south Kerry, he claimed.
Mr Deenihan said that while sporting organisations benefited from the presence of John O’Donoghue as Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Kerry had been left seriously wanting in relation to water treatment plants, broadband and other services.
He said the deficit was especially apparent in education, with a pressing need for new schools in the Blennerville and Baloonagh areas of Tralee.