Challenges facing Shannon Airport must be considered in the upcoming tourism strategy to be produced by Clare County Council.
Cllr Pat Hayes expressed such views at the final meeting of the Rural Development SPC in this Council term which heard that the Clare tourism strategy is expected to be completed by the autumn. Senior executive officer with the local authority, Monica Meehan confirmed that each of the six public consultations held to date heard concerns regarding Shannon Airport.
Noting the involvement of Shannon Heritage with the plan, Cllr Hayes stated, “We are increasingly seeing challenges around Shannon Airport”. The Fianna Fáil representative said he is listening to concerned people on the doorstep who feel they have little option but to fly from other airports in the country.
“There are big challenges with Shannon Airport and I’m increasingly hearing where a number of people are being redirected to Dublin because they are told it is much cheaper to fly into. Shannon could be double the price in some cases. Will Tourism Ireland take on that issue because it is killing us”.
“It doesn’t have the choice either,” Cllr Mary Howard noted. Hayes suggested at a national level, more direction be given to flyers towards Ireland’s west, “94 percent of the traffic is coming through Dublin which shows they want to centralise”.
Community and voluntary representative, Eric Shaw told the meeting, “I was talking to someone this morning who got a flight from Dublin to London for a rugby match for €150 cheaper than they would have got it from Shannon”.
Referring to previous comments from Director of Service Leonard Cleary where coach companies said there was a lack of accommodation in the county to entice them stay an extra night, Cllr Hayes commented, “It is a chicken and egg situation with the hotels, when they don’t see the footfall they are not going to expand”.