A TIMELINE for the full separation of Shannon Airport from the Dublin Airport Authority is to be announced in the next fortnight, Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said.
Speaking at the second annual Limerick Region Business Awards in the Strand Hotel, Mr Noonan confirmed that by Christmas the job of the new chief executive of the Shannon Airport Authority will be advertised, while a board for the newly independent airport will be established thereafter, with a mandate to get the base moving.
Meanwhile, Chamber president Gordon Kearney said they will be putting in place a “route support fund” with other business groups region-wide in relation to the airport.
This, he said, will work on a public-private financing model “to underpin the introduction of key routes, and contribute to the stability of this vital infrastructural asset”.
Mr Noonan added: “It is only since the separation was announced that we have realised how the attachment to Dublin was holding us back. There are airline companies, if they thought we were free of Dublin, (that) would come in and establish flights.”
In his keynote speech, Mr Kearney stressed that a new plan designed to get Limerick’s economy moving must be acted upon.
He said the strategy - due next year - must be “implemented and appropriately funded to ensure it does not sit on a shelf gathering dust.”
There was a special lifetime achievement award for former Chamber president Padraig O’Suilleabhain. The 88-year-old, who only this year retired from the Gaelscoil in Southill, was given the Limerick Chamber presidents award.
Northern Trust, which this year announced 400 new jobs for its base in Limerick, was named Company of the Year.