Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 30 March 2021
Select Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport
Estimates for Public Services 2021
Vote 29 - Environment, Climate and Communications (Revised)
Vote 31 - Transport (Revised)
As the Minister of State knows, aviation is of critical importance to the mid-west and the western regions. I also attended the meeting yesterday with the chambers of commerce from Shannon, Limerick, Ennis and Galway along with the Irish Hotels Federation. They are looking for engagement with the Minister and Minister of State. I ask the Minister of State to give a commitment that she will sit down with this grouping to discuss the importance of the airport to the regions. They are articulating a view that is based on fact. We need supports for the airports not just now but in the future.
We will potentially need supports up to 2024 and possibly 2029. I welcome the fact that the Minister of State and the Minister, Deputy Eamon Ryan, have included Shannon in the capital expenditure programme. Operational moneys have been made available. Some €32.1 million has been made available to both Cork Airport and Shannon Airport. It is of great importance that Shannon be retained within that programme in future and that multi-annual expenditure be injected into Shannon. The airport is in competition with the airports in Kerry, Knock and Donegal. While these airports have always received that type of support, Shannon has not. We need a level playing field. I strongly agree with the stakeholder group that this needs to happen.
With regard to the €26 million connectivity fund agreed with Europe, how does the Minister of State intend for this money to be spent? Has a decision been made in that regard? Is it up to different airports to bid for it? Will Shannon Airport get a particular proportion of that €26 million fund?