FF TD criticises Shannon proposal

PROPOSALS put forward by the Shannon Airport Authority to put the airport on a long-term lease to a private company came under fire yesterday.

Fianna Fáil transport spokesman Timmy Dooley said that privatisation of the airport through the backdoor would not be helpful.

“All of the state airports need to be considered together in a collective way.

“If any of the critical assets are simply considered in a profit and loss environment and focused exclusively on being a profit centre, the region or country is robbed of that facility in terms of being able to pull together the lot and develop a coherent policy.”

The Clare TD told the Dáil: “We need to get away from the notion of the privatisation of things like airports and considering them only in terms of profit and loss.

“Nobody ever considers a road in terms of profit and loss; it is critical infrastructure for moving people from A to B and the same is true of our train services… Some local people seem to believe that if the airport was privatised and taken into local hands, they could run it much better. However, that moves such airports out of the central picture.

“We need a central authority running our three main airports, similar to what existed previously.

“There needs to be a management policy sitting over those assets to manage them in a coherent way that states that Shannon Airport will be for North American tourism, that we will brand that and that will be the product offered there, while doing something else with Dublin and Cork airports.”

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