International humanitarian hub for Shannon ruled out

The Government has ruled out an international humanitarian hub being established at Shannon Airport.

The move follows a consultant’s report which dismissed the proposal as not being justifiable or economically viable.

In its report, Everywhere Consulting concluded it did not presently see a role for Shannon Airport that adds clear value to the international humanitarian relief effort. It ruled out the feasibility of a hub on the grounds of geography, costs, and existing structures in place.

The plan to establish the hub was set out in the Programme for Government. Minister for State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Joe Costello confirmed it would not go ahead. “There was a lot of enthusiasm for the proposal, but unfortunately it doesn’t appear to be a runner,” he said yesterday.

The cost of the feasibility study was €40,584.

In its report, Everywhere Consulting concluded “the study shows low relative value for money for the potential roles of Shannon Airport, given the associated operation and transport costs, low likelihood of usage or regular funding, uncertainty of specific services offered and the pre-existence of relatively well-functioning service providers”.

The report found “due to the risk/benefit issues addressed and the fact that are no major gaps in existing structures, the stake-holders consulted did not see Shannon Airport as a strong site to fill a humanitarian role nor did they believe their organisations would use, manage or fund such a role”.

The report further found “with low turnover and hence low service fees, a prepositioning role at Shannon Airport is unlikely to be self-sustaining and would therefore require regular donor funding”.

It added: “Shannon Airport’s distance from the most common disaster response sites remain an inhibiting factor, as it does its distance from the existing suppliers of humanitarian actors that deal with medical items.”

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