Fianna Fáil Transport Spokesperson Timmy Dooley has raised a number of concerns about the Government’s decision to separate Shannon Airport from the Dublin Airport Authority and merge it with some functions from Shannon Development.

Deputy Dooley said: “Shannon Airport is currently receiving €8m a year from the Dublin Airport Authority and there is no clear funding stream for the airport outlined by the Government after it is cut loose from the DAA.  I want the Government come clean on the debt issue and ensure that Shannon will not be saddled with historical debt.  It must also ensure that Shannon retains control of Aer Rianta International and it valuable revenue generating potential.  Aer Rianta International was born, nurtured and grown out of the Mid-West to become a major success story and it must remain local.

“What’s happening with Shannon Development is very worrying.  The government has decided to tear up a very successful organisation.  The tourism functions are going to Fáilte Ireland, the business support and investment functions are going to Enterprise Ireland and the IDA and what’s left will be folded into the new Airport body.

“Dismantling Shannon Development will take the investment focus off the region at a time when more focus is needed.  I believe a world-class aviation industry can be developed at Shannon that supports employment across the region but that will involve a solid footing for the airport – something the government has failed to provide today.  Nowhere in today’s announcement is there any indication how passenger numbers or increased air services will be provided at Shannon Airport.

“I am calling on Fine Gael and Labour representatives in the Mid-West region to tell the government that Shannon Airport cannot be cut adrift and left to make do with the elements of Shannon Development the semi-State companies don’t want.  If the government is serious about the future of Shannon Airport and serious about securing investment in the region it will quickly re-think its current strategy by retaining Shannon Development as a key driver for economic development and growth in the region and will retain Aer Rianta International’s business in the Mid-West.”