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DUBLIN AIRPORT’s inability to cope with the amount of present traffic ‘is no more than it deserves,’ Clare councillors remarked while throwing their weight behind calls for an all-island approach to aviation in Ireland.

In a joint proposal at Monday’s meeting of Clare County Council, Cllr Pat Daly (FF), Cllr John Crowe (FG), Cllr Michael Begley (IND), Cllr Pat McMahon (FF), Cllr Joe Killeen (FF), Cllr Pat O’Gorman (FF) and Cllr Gabriel Keating (FG) urged the local authority to “immediately” contact the Department of Transport “with a view to insisting that Dublin Airport Authority diverts spare capacity traffic to the likes of Shannon Airport particularly as Dublin has clearly been unable to cater for what it has while Shannon needs more passengers”.

Queuing times to get through Dublin Airport this week have “stabilised” with around 98pc of passengers getting through security in less than 45 minutes, according to the daa. The airport is continuing to advise passengers to arrive up to two-and-a-half hours before a short-haul flight and three-and-a-half hours before a long-haul flight. Several passengers have missed their flights at Dublin over the past month due to the chaos.

It is clear, “Dublin is struggling” to manage the numbers, Cllr Daly insisted. “Over the past thirty years, Shannon Airport has had an up and down experience, losing the stopover in the early 1990s was a huge blow, new airports in Knock and Kerry were great for the west and south of Ireland but a disaster for Shannon. 90 percent of the air traffic is in Dublin now, it is a bottleneck up there, you wouldn’t see a new airport built in Wicklow or Louth,” he said. The Ennis native referred to advice for passengers in Dublin to arrive three and half hours in advance of their flight whereas the experience in Shannon sees them from the car park past customs in under twenty minutes.

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An infuriated Cllr Crowe remarked, “We should say I told ye so. Dublin wanted everything and for last the last twenty years they got it all, it is an absolute disgrace what is going on”. He continued, “The Department should be ashamed of itself, there should be an all-island approach”. One airport controlling ninety percent of the traffic “would not be tolerated in any country in the world. They wanted everything, they got everything and they can’t cater for it now. This is a great tool to beat them with and we need to drive it to the hilt, they can’t cope. They haven’t enough room in the car park, everything is up in a heap”.

Every delegate west of Kildare gave Cllr Begley a round of applause when he made the same points at the most recent sitting of the IALG, he told Monday’s meeting.

Absence of a senior Minister in the Cabinet “is the root of a lot of our problems, look at University Hospital Limerick and Shannon Airport, nobody is calling it out,” Cllr McMahon surmised. Shannon’s independence from the daa “has not brought one advantage,” he believed. “25 TDs live in the Dublin Airport periphery so we haven’t a hope, I’m optimistic by nature but having seen this proliferation wave by wave and we haven’t learned one iota in marketing since our independence”.

Tourism’s direction in Ireland is “biased towards Dublin Airport,” Cllr Killeen claimed. “An effort is made by those with their hands in control of the economic situation to direct tourists into Dublin,” he added.

It is time for the Department “to change their tune,” Cllr O’Gorman stated. “If we could get 75% of the traffic from Dublin into Shannon it would alleviate a lot of problems”. Shannon has “everything, all we need is the passengers,” he said. “Beware of what you wish for and Dublin wished for the dominance, the passengers experienced the trauma of that dominance. We need to move away from the Dublin centric mindsight but how are we when they are the leaders at the moment,” Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) commented. Support for the motion was also voiced by Cllr Joe Garrihy (FG).

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