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Ferris expresses disappointment as closure of Shannon Heathrow route looms

11 January, 2008


Kerry North Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris TD has reiterated his opposition to the closure of the Shannon Heathrow link and claimed that it will damage the economy in the South West. Deputy Ferris was speaking prior to the final flight from the airport to London on Sunday afternoon.

Deputy Ferris said, "The closure of the Heathrow link is very much to be regretted. As I said when this was announced, it is a consequence of privatisation and the abandonment by this Government of the reason why Aer Lingus established the link in the first instance. That was part of a plan to develop the South West and there is no doubt but that the success that became Shannon would not have taken place had it been left exclusively to private enterprise.

"Many industrial concerns, and of course regional tourism, are heavily dependent on the link to Heathrow and there is no doubt but that its removal will have adverse effects. My own county Kerry already suffers from one of the highest rates of unemployment in the state and this situation will not be helped by removing one of the incentives for industry to set up in the region. The same obviously replies to the other counties within the Shannon catchment area.

"While it is unlikely at this stage that the Government will intervene to reverse this decision - as they ought to have done given the public interest in the matter - it is worth while re-stating the case against closure and the likely consequences of the closure. It is also timely to re-emphasise the need for the Government to invest greater efforts towards establishing genuine balanced development." ENDS

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