The announcement  that an agreement has been reached with regards a Lynx Cargo facility in Shannon is very positive news for the airport and the region. Lets make this the first step on the road to recovery and economic stability for Shannon Airport. I firstly want to commend Government for ensuring that funding was put in place to enable the DAA to enter into negotiations with Lynx to now build and operate this facility.

Too often the issue of Shannon Airport was kicked to touch by previous governments and the airport has been allowed decline and operate without much needed long-term business direction or vision. Post open skies, in particular, not enough was done to ensure Shannon had a fighting chance of developing and growing it’s business in different directions and playing to its strengths.

Essentially, this cargo facility will provide ease of access to international markets for manufactures. It will act as a magnet to encourage manufacturing firms to set-up business in the Mid West which will bring the potential for new jobs and growth. I note also that the new cargo terminal will have state of the art temperature control systems for high value goods, thereby giving tailored options for cargo clients.

Following on from the opening up of US border and customs pre-clearance for passengers there is potential to extend the same clearance to Cargo at Shannon. In the future full US cargo pre-clearance could further enhance Shannon’s reputation as a major cargo transport hub. Over the months ahead I intend to continue to work on this proposal with Minister Varadkar.

I have always held the view that Shannon Airport has a sustainable and prosperous economic future. There is a chance now to seize this moment and ensure it has a future we can all benefit from here in the Mid-West.

In the past weeks, we have also witnessed Minister Varadkar directing the board at Shannon to examine their governance model and report back within a short time frame. I have publicly stated my desire to see Shannon operate independently of the DAA, but within State control , and I remain committed to that proposal.

What today’s announcement tells us is that this Fine Gael/ Labour government are committed and determined to support projects where there is an obvious economic spin off and which make good business sense. When I asked the previous Government about funding for this project, time and time again they kicked the issue to touch.

I want to congratulate Lynx and the management in Shannon Airport who have driven this project to this stage. I also want to compliment my Government colleague Minister Leo Varadkar for his insistence that the DAA would direct funding towards the project at a time when funding is tight across all Government departments and agencies. I finally want to welcome the commitment shown by the DAA, Shannon Development and business interests on the ground in Shannon who fought long and hard for this announcement today.