Fianna Fáil Transport and Tourism spokesperson Timmy Dooley is calling on the Government to speed up legislation to establish the body that will oversee business development in the Shannon-Limerick region.
The laws will see the establishment of the Shannon Group, which will act as an umbrella organisation for Shannon International Airport, Shannon Heritage, the International Aviation Services Centre (IASC) and Shannon Development.
“I have been apprehensive in the past about the establishment of this new entity. Shannon Development has had its core ripped from it and handed over to another organisation, and it’s still unclear what sort of remit this new group will have. The lack of Government progress on this issue has led to a vacuum developing, and an effective stalling of the project. A draft Bill to pave the way for the new entity was approved by the Transport and Jobs Ministers last July, but the legislation has never been published. We need to see this Bill so that we can have clarity on the exact role and powers this new organisation will be afforded”, commented Deputy Dooley.
“All the groundwork has been laid, and workers are now waiting patiently for the Government to move on the legislation so that Shannon Development can be disbanded and its powers handed over to the Shannon Group. There’s no reason for Ministers to be dragging their heels on this issue. The Government consistently claims that jobs are its number one priority, but it is delaying on a project which has the potential to increase investment and employment.
“Shannon Airport has been experiencing increased passenger numbers over the last year, mainly as a result of an upturn in the global economy. The expansion possibilities for the region in the future are positive, but the uncertainty surrounding the legislation is extremely unhelpful. It creates a nervousness among workers and investors, which could be dispelled if the Government moved on the Bill.
“We need to see a commitment from the Government that it’s serious about the establishment of the Shannon Group. It’s more than 8 months since Ministers Bruton and Varadkar approved the drafting of the Bill to set up the entity, but since then little or no progress has been visible. This project cannot be allowed to sit on the back burner. The longer this impasse continues, the longer progress is stalled. Ministers Bruton and Varadkar need to come into the Dáil give an update on the situation and I would urge them to do this without delay”.