Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross has agreed to visit Co Clare next month according to Independent TD, Dr. Michael Harty.
Harty held a meeting with Minister Ross last Wednesday and admitted to being “surprised” with his “level of interest including board matters, questions on financial aid, the challenges of holding existing businesses and attracting new traffic. For example, I found the Minister quite animated on the need for a hub on mainland Europe to which Shannon can connect. I believe he is quite anxious to discuss these issues with stakeholders in the Shannon area”.
“There is a perception that the Minister has no interest in Shannon, will not visit the place and so on. I think we should drop this line of attack. It is counter productive and brings no benefit to Shannon. It is much better to have an open mind and constructively initiate discussions with the Minister in a professional manner with a focus on one thing only – the future prosperity of the Airport”.
On Monday, it was decided that the four Municipal District Chairs in Clare, Cllr Johnny Flynn, Cllr Gerry Flynn, Cllr Pat Burke and Cllr Bill Chambers along with Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Cllr Cathal Crowe would represent the local authority in a meeting there were seeking with Minister Ross with Shannon Airport the sole item on the agenda.
Cllr Alan O’Callaghan felt the Government had done enough damage to Shannon Airport. “I don’t feel we need Government support, we need the Government to stay away from what we are trying to do. Funding between various Airports works out at about €4m each, I don’t think that would be enough to turn it around at Shannon. There doesn’t seen to be bums on seats. The Government are not trying to help us, they bringing us to an all-time low”.
Since the Council meeting, Clare TD Harty has expressed his confidence they will receive a positive response to their request. “He has agreed to come to Shannon in late August or early September to look at issues affecting Shannon”. “He does see that he has substantial difficulties particularly in fall of passenger numbers”.