independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Plans for Shannon split could be ready this week

The Government could announce final details of its plans to split Shannon Airport from the Dublin Airport Authority as early as this week.

Cabinet ministers yesterday discussed a report prepared by a steering committee established earlier this year to coordinate two task forces examining the plans to restructure Shannon Airport and Shannon Development.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar and Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton established the committee and task forces in June after announcing in May that they intended to separate Shannon Airport from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) structure.

"We will be able to make an announcement in a few days' time," said Mr Varadkar.

"If we're going to proceed with independence for Shannon it really has to be done by the end of this year. But before we can make a formal announcement on that we need to have one or two more discussions with trade unions."

A total of 35 civil servants and business people were involved in the steering committee and task forces, with the steering group headed by secretary generals Tom O'Mahony and John Murphy from the Transport and Enterprise Departments respectively.

While the Cabinet yesterday discussed the final report, it's understood that some of those involved in preparing it will work on the process on a consultancy basis. None of the 35 people were paid for their involvement in the steering committee or task forces.

The two task forces include one focused on aviation business development and a 'Change Management' taskforce.

Mr Varadkar said earlier this year that Shannon Airport and Shannon Development would become a single entity, separate from the DAA. He said the new organisation, which will remain publicly owned and have a commercial agenda, would help to "recapture the pioneering spirit" of the airport, which was home to the world's first duty free.

Shannon Airport's €100m debt will be transferred to the DAA.

Irish Independent

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