The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, and Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar met with the Board of Ireland West Airport Knock last Monday at the airport to discuss the future plans for its growth and development. The meeting was also attended by local Fine Gael deputies John O’Mahony and Michelle Mulherin and Minister for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring.
In a statement issued after the meeting, Ireland West Airport Knock described the discussion as constructive and said both parties had agreed to engage in a joint study that will develop strategic growth options for the airport. The necessary actions and investment sources to implement these goals will also be detailed as part of the study.
The study will be chaired by John O’Mahony, TD, Deputy Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications, and will include high level representatives from the Airport, Local Authority, Regional Industries and key Government Departments, including Transport, Finance and Trade & Employment.
The terms of reference will be agreed in the coming weeks and the study will be completed and presented to government by the end of May 2013.
The news comes just days after Senator Marc MacSharry lodged an official complaint with the European Commission over Government measures that he says give Shannon Airport an unfair advantage over Knock.
The Fianna Fáil Senator has written to the Directorate General for Competition of the European Commission raising concerns that the measures announced last Summer are anti-competitive.
The Sligo Senator said “In my view, by supporting Shannon and ignoring Knock, the Government is not only unfairly distorting airport competition it is damaging the potential growth of the North West region. In isolation, this move was anti-competitive. The Government must therefore immediately commit to support Knock Airport while also supporting Shannon. The Transport Minister must acknowledge the strategic importance of Knock Airport and take steps to provide similar proportionate measures to level the playing field with Shannon.”