Martin letter ‘makes future of Shannon development group look grim’

Jimmy Woulfe, Mid-West Correspondent

Authority chairman Councillor Martin Lafferty said the letter, sent by Enterprise Minister Micheál Martin’s private secretary, made the company’s future look grim.

The authority, at a meeting in Limerick yesterday, decided to contact every minister and Oireachtas member in the region and also ask Mr Martin to meet a deputation drawn from the four local authorities in the Mid-West.

The letter said Shannon Development should refocus its activities on the airport with a view to generating business for the airport. It also said the company’s assets should be used to support the new airport authority, particularly in its early, vulnerable years.

Shannon Development bosses have warned that transferring assets to the new airport authority would have serious implications as the company would not have the finances to continue delivering its current services.

At yesterday’s meeting of the regional authority, former Fianna Fáil TD Eddie Wade said a notice of motion could be put down for the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party requesting Mr Martin to meet a delegation.

This could be achieved, he said, if one FF Oireachtas member could “pluck up enough courage” to table such a motion at a parliamentary party meeting. Cllr Ger Fahy said the letter from the department was the most devastating ever received from any Government department in the mid-west.

He called for a united front in the fight to save Shannon Development’s role in the region. Authority director Tom Kirby said that if the proposed relocation of the headquarters of Enterprise Ireland to Shannon fell though and Shannon Development was abolished, the mid-west would be left rudderless in the area of industrial development.

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