SHANNON Development is “taking time to reflect” on Government plans to break up a state agency with a 50-year track record in the Mid-West.
Around 110 staff now face an uncertain wait while restructuring plans - which should see most of them transferred to the IDA, Enterprise Ireland, Failte Ireland and the new airport company - take shape.
But a spokesman this Wednesday welcomed the “certainty” on the future ownership structure of the airport.
“There is still a lot of detail to be worked out around the new structure and operation of the new entity, but today’s announcement is undoubtedly a major step towards creating a new entity which will act as a catalyst for growth for the wider region in the years to come.
“There are implications for Shannon Development’s longstanding economic development operations but at this early stage it is difficult to assess the implications of the proposed restructuring and the company will be taking time to reflect on the announcement. To this end, Shannon Development will work closely with the various Government departments concerned to get clarification for staff and clients around the decision as soon as possible,” the spokesman said. Welcoming the decision, Shannon Chamber president Damian Gleeson expressed confidence that the airport and Shannon Development already had the right mix of skills to make autonomy work.
“The corporate capability that has fuelled the region in the past is still present; the prospect of a new debt-free future will now re-energise those skills in an imaginative way,” commented the Limerick native.
“The work of the new steering group and its sub-groups, when formed, will now determine the future structure of the new entity. It’s a critically important phase, which will involve a number of strands, including mergers and transfer of staff. Today’s announcement is an important start to an exciting future for Shannon in terms of aviation activity and overall regional economic development,” Mr Gleeson added.
Former Mayor of Limerick Diarmuid Scully, meanwhile, was effusive in his praise of Minister Varadkar’s actions.
“On foot of a motion I proposed in March, Limerick City Council wrote to Minister Varadkar asking that Shannon Airport be made independent of the Dublin Airport Authority, that Shannon be kept in state ownership, that the new airport be debt free, that it be locally managed and that a mechanism be put in place for the long term funding of Shannon,” Cllr Scully stated.
“Minister Varadkar has given us everything we asked for. This is a great day for Limerick, for Clare and for the Mid-West and Western regions of the country,” he added, urging all parties involved to “rediscover” the innovative spark Shannon’s success was founded on.