- Apr 29, 2009
The government has big plans for Shannon. Press statement below:
New drive to develop world-class aviation industry in Shannon Varadkar, Bruton
Government confirms plans for independent Shannon Airport and restructuring of enterprise support agencies in Shannon region
The Government has decided to separate Shannon Airport from the Dublin Airport Authority and bring it together with Shannon Development to form a new entity with a commercial mandate in public ownership.
This decision represents a new beginning for the Shannon region, involving a drive to develop a world-class aviation industry in Shannon, and a restructuring of tourism and enterprise support agencies in the region to support this goal. The announcement was made by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton, following a series of Government decisions yesterday.
The new entity will have a clear mandate, working closely with the IDA and Enterprise Ireland to develop the potential of the aviation sector, and will explore other opportunities with those agencies for further prospective investments in the region.
The changes will mean that indigenous and foreign businesses in the region will have direct access to the comprehensive range of supports from the State enterprise agencies, as well as to a dynamic international Airport with extensive property holdings.
Shannon Developments functions in relation to indigenous enterprise and foreign direct investment will transfer to Enterprise Ireland and IDA respectively, and a plan for delivery of enterprise supports in the region by those agencies will be developed.
As part of the reorganisation of State agencies - and with a view to the delivery of coherent and integrated services to the region - the tourism functions of Shannon Development, including Regional Tourism Offices, will transfer to Fáilte Ireland. This new entity will continue to support the property needs of IDA/EI clients in the area.
The Ministers will establish a Steering Group to determine the most effective organisational structure of the new entity, develop an implementation strategy for the new body and a plan setting out how the entity will help to achieve strong regional development, while ensuring the highest standard of support for enterprises in the region. The Groups guiding principle will be the future development of the Shannon area.
The Steering Group will in particular assess the feasibility of creating an international aviation centre of excellence centred on Shannon Airport. The Steering Group may establish expert sub groups to assist in this work. The best positioning of the successful Shannon Heritage operation within the State sector will also be considered as part of the deliberations in the months ahead.
Minister Varadkar said: This is a significant step in developing the aviation sector in Ireland and securing the future of Shannon Airport. It heralds a new era for the Shannon region.
I firmly believe that this is the best way forward for both Shannon Airport, Shannon Development and the Mid- West region. We want to recapture the pioneering spirit of the people who gave us the airport and the Shannon Free Zone concept, so that we can provide exciting and innovative opportunities which benefit business, tourism, and job creation in the region, and across the country. Our task now to develop these proposals in more detail.''
Minister Bruton stated: This announcement represents a new start for jobs and enterprise in the Shannon region. In developing our proposals, we were always focused on delivering the best possible outcomes for enterprise development and job-creation in the region. By combining, into a new entity, a strong, independent Shannon airport authority with the extensive property holdings, expertise and experience of Shannon Development, we can focus the States resources on developing a strong aviation industry in the area.
Todays announcement is an important start, but more work remains to be done to deliver on the potential of this proposal and we will press forward immediately with the necessary work. I am convinced that with the right commitment from Government and hard work from all stakeholders, we can create new businesses, new jobs and a new future for the Shannon region.
Todays statement comes not long after the announcement in the Action Plan for Jobs of a new one-stop shop micro-enterprise support structure through the dissolution of the CEBs and the creation of a new Micro Enterprise and Small Business Unit in Enterprise Ireland that will work with new Local Enterprise Offices in each Local Authority.
Local authorities will also be asked to play a key role in the future development of the region, and of the fulfilment of the vision set out today.
In relation to Cork Airport, the Government has decided that the existing ownership of the Airport by the DAA will be maintained for the present. To take account of this decision, the DAA will be renamed to reflect the fact that there are now two airports and international businesses in the group structure. The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport will be making an announcement in the near future on this issue.
Both Ministers look forward to working with the key stakeholders in progressing the many issues that now have to be dealt with and the output of this work will form part of detailed proposals to be submitted to Government later this year.