Shannon to fly on a wing and a prayer as airport is cut loose
ANOTHER week and another "world class" project to save the Mid West.
Last week, we had the Asian hub in Athlone. Yesterday, it was Leo Varadkar and Richard Bruton's turn when they revealed that Shannon Airport will be hived off from the Dublin Airport Authority and merged with bits and pieces of Shannon Development.
The plan looks sensible enough and timely; with the wars winding down in Iraq and Afghanistan, Shannon Airport's future is even more precarious than usual.
There is no reason (other than the competition watchdogs in the European Commission and World Trade Organisation) why Shannon cannot become a home to the global aviation industry.
It certainly makes sense to task the IDA with the job of bringing jobs to the region, although Shannon Development's record has been reasonable in this regard.
The decision to merge the tourism functions of Shannon Development with Failte Ireland also makes sense if, and this is a big if, the Government finally takes a stab at reforming Failte Ireland and the plethora of inefficient tourism agencies into one agency.
No detailed plan
What does not make sense is Mr Bruton and Mr Varadkar's failure to come up with any class of a detailed plan when they made their announcements yesterday.
Instead, we got a series of delaying tactics to avoid the tough decisions that are the logical consequences of dismantling Shannon Development.
We were told that a "steering group" will determine the "most effective organisational structure of the new entity" and then "develop an implementation strategy" while also assessing "the feasibility of creating an international aviation centre of excellence".
This group may establish "expert sub groups" to deal with political hot potatoes, such as the fate of Bunratty.
Somebody will also decide on a new name for the Dublin Airport Authority to reflect the fact that Shannon is leaving the organisation and Cork is remaining inside the umbrella.
Surely, the combined intellects of the two ministers could have come up with a new name over a cup of coffee to save the taxpayer a few thousand euro?
DACA for Dublin and Cork Airports is easy to pronounce. So is CADA. Do we really need anything more elaborate?
All this from a Government that promised to abolish quangos and create jobs quickly.