Representatives of the Mid West and Western business community have met with the Taoiseach this week to highlight the importance of international connectivity via airports outside of the Capital, to the success of regional economic growth.
Presidents of Limerick, Ennis, Galway and Shannon Chambers together with the Limerick Chamber Chief Economist and CEO sat down this Monday evening with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings to discuss the findings of the recently published Copenhagen Economics report, commissioned by Limerick Chamber, and against the backdrop of Brexit, to make the case for further funding and support for Shannon Airport.
“I’m pleased to say we had a positive meeting with the Taoiseach today and a robust debate around the mechanism open to Government for support of regional airports” commented Eoin Ryan, President Limerick Chamber.
“The findings of the CE report point to the impact that strategic business routes – not purely tourism routes – can have on regional economic growth. For example, the report finds that daily business connection between Shannon and Frankfurt would contribute €412 million pa in GDP. This figure considers not alone the direct and indirect impact but also the catalytic impact of a Frankfurt route on our regional economy because of the business synergies facilitated by access to that particular hub” said Limerick Chamber Chief Economist, Dr. Catriona Cahill.
Together the four Chambers represent over 1,200 members supporting more than 105,000 jobs in the Mid West and West.
“Our members frequently tell us that lack of direct connectivity into regional airports is a hindrance to their growth and so we are keen to impress on Government the need to align Business Development Policy with Aviation Policy” said Dee Ryan, CEO of Limerick Chamber.
“The Taoiseach appreciated the challenges facing Shannon Airport and expressed a desire to see Shannon achieve its full potential as a growth enabler for the regional economy.
“We acknowledged and welcomed the announcement in October’s Budget of a competitively based, route development fund specifically for airports outside of Dublin. However, we wanted to stress, particularly as business representatives, the importance of assessing the value of air access to a region through more than a tourism lens and to ensure strategic routes were highlighted and supported ” she continued.
“The Taoiseach has committed to examining the viability of a small number of specified requests made in the meeting which would be of benefit to Shannon Airport and the wider region” concluded Chamber President, Eoin Ryan.