A Clare County Council delegation has met with Minister for Transport, Mr. Leo Varadkar, T.D., to discuss issues relating to Shannon Airport’s separation from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA).
The meeting was sought by the Local Authority’s 32 Elected Members who unanimously backed a report by the Clare County Manager calling for the Government to involve the Local Authority in the ongoing restructuring process.
The Government announced in May that the newly independent airport will be brought together with the surrounding airport landbank to form a new entity with a commercial mandate in public ownership, as proposed by Clare County Council in its submission to consultants Booz & Company in late 2011. However, no local authority representative from the Midwest Region was named on either of the three Government-appointed groups tasked with formulating the restructuring strategy.
Following the meeting at the Department of Transport in Dublin, Mayor of Clare Councillor Pat Daly announced that the Minister had committed to putting a formal process in place to facilitate input by the Mayor and Clare County Manager, on behalf of the Council, with the Chairs of the recently announced Steering Group and two Taskforces.
“Minister Varadkar listened to our views and accepted we have a valuable contribution to make to the process,” stated Mayor Daly.
He continued: “The Council accepted that if the Minister was to add additional members to the Taskforces that he would have to reopen the entire process and that could have delayed the work of the relevant Taskforces. Therefore, the Council did not request to be included on the Taskforces. We asked for a process that would facilitate the Council influencing, and participating in the decision making process. The Minister positively responded to that request.”
Clare County Manager, Tom Coughlan confirmed he has already met with the Chairs of the Taskforces. “The Chairs strongly indicated to me that the Council’s input to their deliberations would be essential to the process. The outcome of today’s meeting with the Minister is that a formal process is being put in place to facilitate that role. Clare County Council, as the Local Authority for Shannon and Clare, looks forward to playing a key role in devising a plan for the future development of Shannon Airport,” he added.
The Clare County Council delegation that met with Minister Varadkar included Mayor of Clare Cllr. Pat Daly, Clare County Manager Tom Coughlan, and Councillors Patricia McCarthy, Richard Nagle and John Crowe, each members of the Council’s Corporate Policy Group.