New airport structure is a vote of confidence in Shannon Airport’s enterprising spirit – Breen

May 9th, 2012 - Pat Breen

A strong and vibrant Shannon Airport can lead the way for regional recovery

Fine Gael TD for Clare and Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs & Trade, Pat Breen, has today (Wednesday) welcomed the Government’s announcement of plans to restructure Shannon Airport. The Government has decided to separate Shannon Airport from the Dublin Airport Authority and bring it together with Shannon Development to form a new entity with a commercial mandate in public ownership. Deputy Breen said that today is a defining day for Shannon Airport and for the rebirth of Shannon Airport’s enterprising spirit.

“Today’s announcement heralds the rebirth of Shannon Airport’s enterprising spirit. Giving this region back autonomy for the future of Shannon Airport, as a new entity in public ownership, will allow the airport and the region to focus solely on what is best for its own business development. The situation which pertains at present, where every decision has be vetted and approved by the DAA will become a thing of the past.

“The enactment of the State Airports Bill 2004 and the inaction by the previous Government in putting the necessary governance structures in place to support Shannon Airport strangled the airport’s ability to develop. This resulted in a significant decline in passenger traffic at the airport in the intervening years.

“In stark contrast with the inactivity of the previous administration, this Government will be putting in place a high-powered steering group to determine the most effective governance structures to deliver this new entity. The group will be enacted immediately and its work is expected to be completed to allow Ministers to go back to the Government with detailed proposals before the end of the year.

“Shannon Airport is the key driver for economic development in this region. I have always argued that it should remain under State ownership and I welcome the Government’s commitment to maintain control over the Airport.

“For too long, Shannon Airport’s role as an engine for economic growth for the Mid-West Region has been ignored. Today’s announcement is the first step in Shannon Airport’s fight back. It is a vote of confidence in Shannon Airport’s enterprising spirit and heralds the rebirth of a strong and vibrant Shannon Airport which will lead the way to economic recovery for the entire region.

“Throughout its proud history Shannon Airport has shown its ability to adapt to the various challenges it has faced. In its time the airport has achieved many firsts, most notably, the first Irish Coffee, the first Duty Free Shop and in recent years, the first airport in the world outside of the Americas to provide US pre-clearance facilities.

“In 1959, the late Brendan O’Regan, one of the region’s greatest visionaries, was appointed Chairman of the Shannon Development Company. This joined up thinking led to development of the Shannon Free Zone and Shannon Castle Tours.

“Fifty three years later, this Government is again recognising the benefits which a closer relationship between the airport and Shannon Development can have for the entire region and for the development of aviation related businesses here. Already there are 30 aviation related businesses located in the Shannon Airport and we have the infrastructure in this region to become a centre of excellence for such activity.”