Clare Fine Gael Senator Tony Mulcahy has accused Fianna Fáil of “gross hypocrisy” over its stance on the separation of Shannon Airport from the Dublin Airport Authority.
The former Mayor of Clare and Mayor of Shannon made his comment after Fianna Fáil senator Marc MacSharry formally lodged a complaint with the European Commission about what he describes as the Irish Government’s breach of European Competition Laws over Shannon Airport.
Senator Mulcahy said the move “smacks of political opportunism.” He continued: “I find it particularly hypocritical of the Fianna Fail party to be lodging such an objection to an overwhelmingly positive move for the Shannon region. It is especially baffling considering the commitments made by the Party while in Government to enforce the exact same changes that the present Government has introduced.”
“It is particularly disingenuous that a party that subscribed to the changes that have been introduced at Shannon have accused Fine Gael and Labour of manipulating a process which will ensure the demise of Ireland West Airport Knock. Senator MacSharry’s move represents the parochial politics that the people of this country have grown tired of. The simple truth is that Shannon is a special case and its future survival is critical to an entire region’s economic interests,” stated Senator Mulcahy.
Senator Mulcahy noted that Senator MacSharry’s move on the same day that Fianna Fail Leader Michael Martin attended the annual Clare Tourist Council conference as guest of honour highlighted the party’s (Fianna Fáil) “true lack of commitment to the future wellbeing of the facility and the Shannon Region”.
He added: “If Fianna Fail is interested in balanced regional development and the future growth of one of Ireland’s most important industrial centres along the Atlantic Corridor, Deputy Martin will insist that Senator MacSharry withdraws his ill-conceived complaint.”
“As a member of Clare County Council in 2007, I was one of 32 Councillors to back a motion requesting that Shannon be freed from the shackles of the DAA after the Authority’s failure to prevent Aer Lingus from axing its Shannon to Heathrow services. It has taken five years for autonomy to be finally granted and I think this is a momentous moment not only for the airport but also for the wider Mid-West Region. Senator MacSharry must realise that this milestone move marks the culmination of years of lobbying from public bodies, regional development agencies, private organisations and politicians in the Mid West Region. That is democracy at work and I am proud to have played a small part in it,” Senator Mulcahy concluded.