PLANS to transfer Kerry lands into a new company being formulated to take over the running of Shannon Airport could prove an economic disaster for the county.
The Kerryman understands that the Government is this week moving to transfer the property assets of Shannon Development, effectively wound-up under recent cuts, to a new company to oversee Shannon Airport.
Fears are mounting in the county this week that the move to the new company - which will have no job development brief for Kerry - will spell disaster for jobs creation in the county. The lands to be transferred include the Ballylongford landbank, the Tarbert etowns project, ten acres in Listowel and Kerry Technology Park.
County Councillor Jim Finucane called for the lands to be transferred to Kerry County Council on Monday. Following his proposal the council is to request meetings with Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar and Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Enterprise Richard Bruton.
The Kerryman understands that the assets also realise roughly €1 million per annum for Shannon Development in purchase options and rent - money that could now be diverted to Clare.
"The assets of Shannon Development are the main infrastructure we have for creating jobs in north Kerry and if these are removed from our control it will spell further setbacks for an area that is already very disadvantaged," Cllr Finucane said.
"We simply can't relent on anything that might also create further uncertainty for the Shannon LNG project on the landbank. The new company's sole brief will be to manage Shannon Airport and it is not acceptable that the assets we have built up in Kerry over the years would be transferred to such a company now. It is imperative that they are moved to Kerry County Council so that they will remain in public ownership in Kerry."