A LIMERICK TD has asked to be part of a cross-party delegation which is heading to Dublin to meet Minister Shane Ross to seek financial support for Shannon Airport.
Labour Party Deputy Jan O’ Sullivan wants to join the delegation being led by Mayor of Clare, Cathal Crowe (FF) as she believes the Minister is not giving Shannon the support it is allowed to have under EU rules.
The delegation is planned as it emerged this week that the grounding of Boeing’s 737 max aircraft is costing the airport and the region a massive €58 million this year.
Deputy O’Sullivan has raised the issue of other small airports getting funding while Shannon, with fewer than three million passengers a year, was overlooked
“I have asked to be included in the delegation on behalf of the Labour Party as we haven’t a public representative in Clare. I also feel that Limerick needs to get on board on this issue as it is so crucial for the whole region,” she told the Limerick Post.
She said she would ask the Minister to review his decision not to fund Shannon’s capital projects.
“The airport is a vital link for the economic development of the West and Mid-West of Ireland, yet it has to use its own resources to fund essential safety and security measures costing €20 million. It is suffering reduced passenger numbers while Dublin airport now accounts for 85.5 per cent of all passenger numbers in the country,” she said.
At a specially convened meeting of Clare County Council to discuss the airport, Mayor Cathal Crowe said that Clare and Shannon Airport had a symbiotic relationship.
“We’re right in the middle of the summer tourism season and the fact that Clare currently has a shortage of hotel beds is an indicator that the market is buoyant and ready for further expansion. More can always be done and Clare County Council will always be at the vanguard of advancing the tourism product, the industries and enterprises of our county.”
Addressing the members of Clare County Council, Shannon Group Acting Chief Executive Mary Considine said that the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max resulted in the cancellation of two services by Norwegian Airlines to the US and one air Canada service to Toronto.
In response to members’ criticism of the airport’s failure to capitalise on the marketing opportunity presented by the recent Irish Open golf tournament in Lahinch, she said they would love to have been involved but didn’t have the marketing budget for it.