Dáil Éireann - Volume 555 - 16 October, 2002

Written Answers. - Regional Airports.

  143. Mr. Sherlock asked the Minister for Transport the Government's proposals for the future of Aer Rianta; if his attention has been drawn to the serious concern expressed by unions representing workers in Aer Rianta at reports that the company is to be broken up; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18239/02]

  Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): I assume the Deputy is referring to the provision in the programme for Government which states that, as part of the process of continuing to transform Aer Rianta, we will ensure that Shannon and Cork Airports have greater autonomy and independence. I have arranged to meet the group of unions in Aer Rianta on Monday next, 21 [960] October and I look forward to hearing their views on this proposal and other matters.

  A debate has now been stimulated by me both within the Shannon and Cork regions and at a national level on the best ownership structure for these two airports going forward. I visited both Shannon and Cork recently to further stimulate this debate. As the Deputy may be aware, I have already made it clear publicly that the issue for Shannon and Cork is being considered solely in the context of continued State ownership of those airports.

  There is a genuine sense of goodwill towards the airports in the two regions on the part of local tourism and business interests and views may differ on the best way forward. However, I will listen carefully to the views of all interested parties, including those of the unions in Aer Rianta, before framing proposals to bring to Government.

  Question No. 144 answered with Question No. 82.

  Question No. 145 answered with Question No. 111.