The future for staff at an independent Shannon Airport is far more secure than under the Dublin Airport Authority, the chairman of the Mid West Task Force has said.
In his first public comment since the separation of Shannon Airport from the DAA was announced, Denis Brosnan — the author of a report that recommended autonomy — said he understood staff concerns regarding their future but insisted their jobs are as secure now as they would ever be with the DAA.
His comments come as workers at Shannon Airport consider industrial action on foot of the announcement that the airport is to be separated from the DAA on Dec 31.
It’s understood Siptu wants staff at the airport to remain as employees of the DAA to protect their existing terms and conditions of employment.
“They transfer over to this new entity with the exact same terms and conditions that they have as employees of the DAA. This is a condition by law. There is always nervousness around change but, if anything, staff future is far more secure under an independent Shannon than under the DAA,” said Mr Brosnan.
The founder of Kerry Group, Mr Brosnan said that the entire region would be best served by an independent Shannon entity.
In his final report in Mar 2011, he called for an autonomous, debt-free airport.
“In the Mid West Task Force Report, we identified Shannon’s importance as the key economic, tourism and industrial development driver of not only the Mid-West Region but the West of Ireland. Sadly, over the past five years or more, it has failed to fulfil this role satisfactorily and one of the principal reasons was that it did not control its own destiny.
“There are outstanding people in the DAA but the reality is that they are focussed on Dublin Airport. In recent years, in addition to day-to-day operations, they had also undertaken what is likely to be the single biggest aviation project on this island, the development of Terminal 2, so clearly Shannon was not Dublin’s priority. And Shannon needs to be a priority.”
Welcoming the announcement of the separation of Shannon and the follow-on initiatives for the aviation sector in the budget, Mr Brosnan said autonomy may not have prevented the traffic decline at Shannon but were the airport free to determine its own rates, it could have limited it.
“Shannon was, therefore, left swaying in the wind during the most turbulent time in our economy with no one taking hold of the problem. The issue was exacerbated by the debt burden at Shannon, which mitigated against future developments.”
“I said it at the time and say it again now: an independent Shannon would have the freedom to drive airport development in a way that clearly could not happen while under the wing of the DAA,” he continued.
Mr Brosnan said the Mid West Task force identified opportunities such as the establishment of a cargo facility at Shannon, and securing this must now be a target.
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