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Urgent action is needed to enhance EU connectivity from Shannon Airport with Brexit and Ryder Cup bringing more focus on the matter, Willie O’Dea has claimed.

In November, Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on Employment Affairs and Social Protection requested the Shannon Airport Authority to consider establishing new destinations including a new route to Paris “particularly because of the airports over reliance on London for connectivity with the rest of Europe and the world”.

O’Dea has questioned how prepared the Airport is in the case of a hard Brexit. “We have a very strong possibility of a hard Brexit coming at the end of October and what have the Government and Shannon Airport done to prepare for this? We need action now, as at present, we have no significant other options other than London for connectivity with Europe and the rest of the world. Only recently, we had the great news that the Ryder cup is coming to Adare in 2026. On foot of this announcement, we also had Dublin Airport claiming that they were the gateway airport for golf in Ireland and they received a deserved rebuke for this. However, if the Government don’t get their act together, Shannon Airport will not be the gateway airport of choice for most golf fans, as the routes just won’t be there for them to use”.

He was critical of the Government’s decision to award €5m in funding to Waterford Airport which currently has no commercial flights. “Our Government TD’s and Senators need to step up and ensure that Shannon Airport gets it’s fair share too. The Government need to ensure that Shannon Airport secures a new route to Paris or indeed Amsterdam, either of which would offer huge connectivity to the rest of the world for business and leisure travellers alike”.

“There needs to be significant marketing support for an airline to commence flying on the Shannon to Paris or Shannon to Amsterdam route now that the economy has picked up. This has to be a priority for Shannon Airport Authority and Minister Ross and his Government. Passenger numbers at Shannon airport are still down about 1 million on what they were a decade ago and the lack of a service to Paris or Amsterdam from Shannon is a major disappointment for many people I have spoken to. It’s time that Minister Ross got on with his job and finally delivered for Shannon Airport instead of posing for photo ops with our sports stars”.

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