*Photograph: Joe Buckley

AN “economic push” needs to be given to Shannon Airport by new Taoiseach Simon Harris (FG) and his Cabinet colleagues to relive ongoing pressure on Dublin Airport.

At Monday’s meeting of Clare County Council, Cllr Pat McMahon (FF) called on the Taoiseach and all relevant Ministers “to give the Shannon Airport Group the relevant economic ‘push’ to sustain the economic projection of the airport, to relieve Dublin Airport and sustain the Airport into the future”.

Last month, daa which operates Dublin Airport was blocked from buying a car park over concerns it would lead to higher prices for consumers. The daa wanted to buy the 6,000 space QuickPark site which is about a mile from the airport. However, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) said the deal would give daa an effective monopoly over large car parks in the area.

These scuppered plans for 6,000 cars to utilise Dublin Airport were referenced by Cllr McMahon on Monday as he said negotiations should instead be taking place to aid Shannon’s cause. “Bit by bit it is getting bigger with people coming from suburbs of Dublin like Kildare and they can’t believe how easy Shannon is to park and to get through”. He pointed out that Delta have resumed services in Shannon while Ryanair has added three new routes.

Tourists who wish to visit the West of Ireland would be better served by flying into Shannon, the Newmarket-on-Fergus representative maintained. “53% of tourists which arrive in Ireland are Americans, they are the real tourists, they stay overnight, they eat, they buy gifts, they rent cars and use our restaurants”.

Seconding the proposal, Cllr Tom O’Callaghan (FF) remarked, “Cllr McMahon always has the finger on the pulse when it comes to Shannon”. He added, “It is our main economic driver, they want to expand up there and we have the facility to bring people into our own area”.

Uptake of passengers at Shannon in recent years was described as an “incredible success” by Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF). She said, “I want to applaud Cllr McMahon who continues without any break to push for the ongoing well-being of Shannon Airport and is doing it here again today in one of his later meetings as a serving councillor”.

Shannon Airport provides a fair counter balance to Dublin, Cllr PJ Ryan (IND) maintained. “They want to increase passenger numbers to 40m in Dublin, where is the logic in that, if at least a fraction of those was transferred to Shannon it would really help rural communities and families”.

“We are not fighting with Dublin, we are relieving the pressure,” Cllr Michael Begley (IND) flagged while praising the wording of the motion. “Dublin is Ireland, they have taken over, it needs Government intervention,” Cllr Pat Daly (FF) argued.

Support was also voiced by Cllr John Crowe (FG) and Cllr Joe Cooney (FG) with the Mayor of Clare telling Cllr McMahon “the support you’ve given to Shannon is simply fantastic”.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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