Fianna Fáil Transport Spokesman Timmy Dooley has hit out at the Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar following a national newspaper report that the Government is considering ‘handing over the running of Shannon Airport to a private operator’.

Deputy Dooley said: “These comments from Minister Varadkar are disturbing considering that the Minister has just appointed a team of international consultants to advise on the ownership and management structures at Cork and Shannon airports.  It would seem to me that the Government should first wait for the conclusion of that process before considering any proposals.  The Minister’s comments are clearly aimed at leading the consultation towards a predetermined conclusion.

“Operational losses at Shannon and Cork airports are currently significant but it must be understood that we’re in the middle of the deepest global recession since 1929.  While the problems at the respective airports must be addressed for sustainable regional development in the south and the mid west regions handing over the airport to private, profit-driven operators would not be in the regional best interests.

“I am amazed at the lack of comments from Government representatives in the south and mid west regions.  They produced many fanciful proposals while in opposition but have remained surprisingly silent at a time when very serious decisions about the future of Cork and Shannon airports are being made.”