A GROUP of Oireachtas members from across the region have formed a new group designed to safeguard the future of Shannon Airport.
TDs and Senators from Limerick, Clare and Tipperary are part of the new cross-party Shannon Airport Oireachtas group.
They will meet the next Minister for Transport at the earliest opportunity as part of the co-ordinated move, which comes after traffic in the last year fell in the airport.
A video-link meeting of the group was attended this week by Willie O’Dea, Kieran O’Donnell, Maurice Quinlivan, Richard O’Donoghue, Senator Paul Gavan and Clare TD Cathal Crowe alongside other members from across the region.
Apologies came local TDs Brian Leddin, Patrick O’Donovan and Niall Collins.
The all-party group is also seeking a meeting with the chairperson and chief executive of the the Shannon Group to discuss the challenges facing the airport and to provide united regional support in the difficult months ahead as the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic gets underway.
In a joint statement issued today, the new all-party group described the meeting as “a very constructive engagement by all participants”.
The group agreed the Covid-19 emergency has cast a worrying shadow over the future of Shannon Airport, which is of vital strategic importance to Clare, the Mid-West and Western regions and is a critical catalyst to balanced regional development.
The joint statement added: “The purpose of the meeting was to arrange for the setting up of a support group for Shannon Airport to facilitate the engagement of Members of the Oireachtas from Clare, Limerick and Tipperary, so that they could be fully informed of the challenges facing the Shannon Group and to endeavour to create a forum whereby they can support our airport. “
“All of the Members who attended welcomed the setting up of the Group and agreed to work to ensure its efforts are successful. There was agreement by all of the need to work together to support the airport and the Shannon Group's other core activities.
“This included the need for a stronger working relationship between the Shannon Group and Shannon Heritage to help increase footfall to the many historic sites in the region.”
The all-party group said there was “a broad base of understanding of the strategic and operational challenges” faced by the Shannon Group, and it was agreed to seek a meeting with the Chairperson and CEO of the Shannon Group “at the earliest possible opportunity”.
Clare TD Joe Carey is the group’s interim chairman and will remain so until proper structures can be put in place.