A Strong Shannon Airport – A Strong Region – BREEN.

October 25th, 2011 - Pat Breen

Have you say on the Airports Future and engage with newly appointed Consultants

Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs & Trade & Clare T.D. Pat Breen has today (Tuesday) urged all Stakeholders to engage with the Consultants (Booz and Company) appointed by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar T.D. to undertake a study on the options for the future ownership and operation of Cork and Shannon Airports. Deputy Breen said that a strong and vibrant Shannon Airport can lead the way to economic recovery in this Region and that the “appointment of the consultants is a real opportunity for this Region have our say on the Airports future.” Deputy Breen added that he would engage constructively himself with the process and that he was now finalising his own proposals and views for Shannon Airport which he would be submitting to the Consultants over the next number of weeks.

“The previous Administration strangled Shannon Airport’s ability to develop when they left the Airport sitting in limbo since they introduced the State Airports Bill in 2004. The manner in which this legislation proposed to divest the distribution of assets from the Dublin Airport Authority to Cork and Shannon Airports and break up the three Airports was doomed from the beginning. The plan lacked credibility given that there was no in depth analysis undertaken of the two Airports financial and operational requirements going forward and this was proven in 2008, when the onslaught of the recession forced the then Transport Minister Noel Dempsey T.D. to put the entire process on the back boiler.”

I argued strongly at that time that given that Minister Dempsey was deferring any decision on the break up until this year that he should have divested strong powers of local autonomy to local management in Shannon in the interim; however, my appeals fell on deaf ears.

Now, the focus is very clearly back on Shannon and Cork Airports given that the Minister Varadkar has appointed consultants (Booz and Company) to undertake a study of the options for the future ownership and operation of Cork and Shannon Airports. Minister Varadkar has taken a keen interest in developing Shannon Airport since assuming office and already he has been to the forefront in pushing the Lynx Cargo Project. He is now seeking wide ranging advice on all possible options for the Airports going forward and his position is in stark contrast to that of his predecessors who forged ahead with their plans without any consultation or in depth analysis.

That is why I am appealing to all interested Stakeholders in this Region to fully engage with the Consultants. Shannon Airport is key economic driver in this Region and a strong and vibrant Airport can lead the way to economic recovery in the Mid-West. Shannon Airport is an internationally recognised brand and there is a lot of goodwill out there for the Airport. This was brought home to me recentl