Varadkar reveals cost of reports

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has confirmed that his department paid international consultancy firm Booz Consultants €119,350 for its report on the future of Cork and Shannon airports.

The consultancy firm delivered its report to Mr Varadkar in December. In a Dáil response to Independent Kerry South TD Tom Fleming, Mr Varadkar confirmed the amount the department paid Booz for its work.

In a written response, Mr Varadkar said €577,668 was paid to consultants last year for various reports.

The figures show that other firms to receive in excess of €100,000 from the Department of Transport for work include CORE, which received €120,131, and MentecPlus, which received €119,422. The Dáil response does not state what work was carried out by each consultant.

Deloitte last year evaluated Ryanair’s route proposals for Ireland’s State airports in exchange for any abolition of the air travel tax and reduced airport charges.

According to the figures provided by Mr Varadkar, Deloitte received two payments from the transport department, of €42,350 and €12,288.

The figures also show economic consultants Indecon received €54,813; financial analyst Adrian Swift received €44,574; and Version 1 received €36,370.

Mr Varadkar said he will announce a decision on Shannon Airport shortly.

Booz recommended that Shannon Airport be separated from the Dublin Airport Authority and placed into a separate corporate structure with a remit to expand its activities beyond passenger travel.

However, Booz also concluded that debts associated with Cork Airport meant it should remain within the DAA, although with greater autonomy.

Last month, at a Shannon Chamber of Commerce event, Mr Varadkar revealed a tax-incentivised international aviation-based centre at Shannon Airport as the model the Government is most likely to pursue at the airport.

Mr Varadkar said that, along with giving Shannon Airport autonomy, he will propose to Government that an IFSC for the aviation industry be established at Shannon.

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