3.12.2012

Fine Gael Press Office

Senator Martin Conway

Clare

Monday, December 3rd 2012

New beginning for Shannon Airport – Conway

Fine Gael Clare Senator, Martin Conway, has described today (Monday) as an historic day for the future of Shannon Airport, following the announcement that the Government is to push ahead with plans to develop Shannon as an independent entity, a move that has the potential to create thousands of jobs in the region. The announcement was made by the Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar TD, and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD.

“I am delighted that, after just 19 months in Government, Ministers Bruton and Varadkar are pushing ahead with a plan for the future of Shannon Airport which will be the most radical in the history of Irish aviation.  The future of Shannon Airport has been the subject of much debate and discussion for many years under numerous ministers. Previously, the airport and the region, have been forced to accept tinkering around the edges that failed to secure Shannon’s viability or enable it to effectively compete with Dublin and Cork.

“Under its new structure, Shannon will function as an independent entity through the merger of Shannon Airport and Shannon Development. It will be unshackled from the constraints of the Dublin Airport Authority, giving it the best possible chance to succeed and compete. Under this new structure, an international aviation centre of excellence will be developed at Shannon, leading to the creation of 850 jobs. The new centre is expected to support up to 3,500 jobs over the next five years, which is a massive boost to the region.

“Business people right across the Mid-West believe that Shannon has never been allowed to reach its full potential under the control of the Dublin Airport Authority.  Today’s announcement will facilitate a creative new structure, which will allow Shannon to compete on a more equal playing field. Today’s announcement will also breathe a healthy air of confidence into the entire Mid-West region.  It demonstrates that the Government is really serious about balanced regional development and I believe today’s announcement will encourage national and international companies to set up in the Mid-West region.

“The most recent tourism figures show that we’re experiencing a surge in visitors from the USA. Tourism numbers from North America were up almost 15% between August and October, compared to the same period last year. I am confident that the new Shannon Airport can benefit from this positive trend, coupled with The Gathering next year. Today is a completely new beginning for Shannon Airport, giving it renewed potential to drive growth and development across the entire Mid-West region.”

ENDS