Shannon Region hit another major blow in Budget 2009 – BREEN.

October 23rd, 2008 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen claims that Regional Development took a massive blow in Budget 2009. Deputy Breen claims that the real implications of Budget 2009 are now becoming clear and while every Section of our community has taken a hit, the reality is that “County Clare is taking more than our fair share.””This Region has taken a number of serious hits in the past year. Following the loss of Heathrow connectivity we have been hit with a number of high profile job loss announcements and have witnessed a 47.6% increase in the live register figures in the County.”

“Now Regional development has taken another massive blow in Budget 2009, an additional €10 euro Air Tax has been slapped on the travelling public departing from Shannon Airport and plans to decentralise up to 400 jobs at Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Aviation Authority have been put on ice with Shannon Developments Grant-Aid from the Department of Enterprise and Trade dramatically cut back for 2009.”

“As part of the McGreevy Decentralisation Plan 400 jobs were promised to Shannon. Enterprise Ireland was relocating its Head Office with 226 positions and the Irish Aviation Authority Headquarters promised 102 positions.

“As a result of Budget 2009 both projects are deferred pending a review in 2011. When I requested figures from the Minister for Transport and Marine Noel Dempsey T.D. on the number of jobs relocated to the IAA on the 17th June 2008 last the Minister confirmed that only 36 staff had been recruited at that point and he had no idea when the remaining positions will be filled, while only 60 Staff have moved to Enterprise Ireland.”

“The entire decentralisation project has been a fiasco. While the Government toyed with these proposals they significantly reduced Shannon Developments mandate in this area while the future for staff already transferred to both organisations is now far from clear.”

“As part of the proposed savings of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment for 2009, Grant Aid to Shannon Development is also taking a big hit. The Grant for Administration and General Expenses has been reduced by 98% while the Grant Aid to Industry has been reduced by 77%. (See attached details).

“There are some vital questions which the Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Coughlan must answer.

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Is Shannon Development now expected to grant-aid industry in this Region from their own resources?

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What is the future for Shannon Development plans to regenerate the Industrial Zone and is the Tanaiste going to support these plans?

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What is the situation for those staff who have already transferred to both the IAA and Enterprise Ireland?”This Government had done nothing other than pay-lip service to balanced regional development, this Government has failed to fulfil the commitments set out in both the National Development and the National Spatial Strategy and it appears their inaction and non-fulfilment of their commitments will see the imbalance between the East and West Coast accelerate further in the coming years.”

ENDS.