The concept of the duty free shop was invented here by the initiator of the Shannon Free Zone, Brendan O'Regan. In 1959 he presented the Shannon Free Zone proposal for a special manufacturing zone with tax incentives next to the Shannon Airport. This would create an attractive condition for (foreign) businesses and create employment. The Shannon Free Zone became the forerunner and the example of later SEZ's like Shenzhen, China.
For the workers at the airport and the industrial estates, a small New Town was built with terraced housing and apartment blocks.