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22 Jan 2022

Multi-million euro funding boost for Shannon Airport

Multi-million euro funding boost for Shannon Airport

Passenger numbers through Shannon Airport have collapsed since the onset of the pandemic

SHANNON Airport is to share in a €32m share of funding going into 2021, it was confirmed this afternoon.

The Department of Transport is to provide €22.1m in operational and capital funding supports split between Shannon and Cork Airports.

This comes in addition to the €10m in capital funding for the bases announced in Budget 2021.

As part of this, the funding package includes an airport charges rebate scheme for the first quarter of the New Year, subject to state aid approval by the European Commission.

And in a key development of public transport locally, government has also decided a study should be undertaken to assess the potential for a rail link from Shannon Airport and Shannon town to the Dublin Limerick rail line.

Mary Considine, the chief executive of the Shannon Group, which operates Shannon Airport, has welcomed the funding.

She said: “It will support our airport operations and our aviation partners next year, as we continue to manage our way through what will be a challenging few years ahead for aviation. Together with the difficult cost containment measures we have had to put in place, the funding we will receive will allow us to navigate our way through this crisis.”

She also said the support will also benefit businesses not only in the Mid-West, but also along the western seaboard, which rely on Shannon’s services.

 

Political Reaction

AS expected, there has been an immediate welcome from local TDs to the announcement of the funding.

Minister of State Niall Collins said: “Shannon Airport is a vital economic driver in the mid-west region. We must strive to ensure its survival and sustainability during the Covid19 pandemic. Government has and is responding to this and rightly so. I will continue to use my influence within Government to ensure that jobs and the infrastructure for connectivity will be protected so as to ensure that when normal air travel and demand returns, that Shannon Airport is positioned to recommence providing service to the region unhindered.”

Fellow junior minister Patrick O’Donovan added: “The government recognises the importance of Shannon airport and wants to work with local communities and representative organisations. The airport is of massive importance to Mid-West economy and to Limerick. I will continue to work with Minister Hildegarde Naughton at the Department of Transport, whose Department will work out the detail of the additional funding supports with the airport.”

In the city, Green Party deputy Brian Leddin homed in on the study to build a rail spur to link Shannon Airport, describing it as a “potential game changer for transport in Limerick”.

““For Limerick to grow and prosper we need modern transport infrastructure that will equip us for the future. This is the first step to develop an integrated suburban rail network for Limerick serving Shannon, Moyross, Ballysimon, Castleconnell, Raheen and Adare. We need to make sure that the upcoming Limerick development plan supports the development of high quality and high density housing that will allow the region to grow and prosper sustainably, making sure that everyone has access to education, work and public services,” he said.

Fine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell said: “This is very welcome government funding for Shannon Airport and is to ensure it comes through Covid-19 intact. Along with the easing of air travel restrictions since Sunday midnight as well as an airports rebate Scheme to operate from January next, this funding recognises the severe impact Covid-19 has had on Shannon Airport and how vital it is to the region and Ireland Inc.”

“Restoring connectivity to London Heathrow and the USA is vital for Shannon Airport and the region. This additional government funding should greatly assist in bringing back these vital strategic routes as quickly as possible, whilst at the same time keeping public health safety as a priority,” he added.

And former Defence Minister Willie O’Dea, Fianna Fail, added: “This injection of money will hopefully help Shannon return to being a thriving airport again, helping to drive the economy of Limerick and the Mid-West.”

“I had met with Government Ministers in recent weeks and emphasised the importance of further Government assistance for Shannon Airport and I am delighted that they have now delivered for the airport.”

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