Re: Re: Airports; how many state subsidised airports are required in Ireland

Home Forums Ireland Airports; how many state subsidised airports are required in Ireland Re: Re: Airports; how many state subsidised airports are required in Ireland


Looking at the DAA annual report, both airports seem roughly equivalent in terms of passenger numbers (taking out Shannon’s hijack victims), with 2.6 million beginning or ending their journeys in Shannon compared to 2.7 million in Cork. I’ll admit to a slight preference for Cork, as its business is pretty much undistorted by any artifice like the stopover. The stopover has to be one of the most nationally damaging pieces of parochial politics, so its hard to feel empathy for people who even today benefit from it despite the cost to the rest of the community.

I take it we’ve all read the newspapers. Cork expresses a fear that if it has to cover any significant part of its debt, it’s finished. But there seems to be a reasonably level of confidence that it can cover its operating costs. Shannon also has a significant debt issue, but has no chance of covering its operating costs without significant redundancies – which someone will have to pay for.

Does anyone regard it as politically feasible to write off the investment in either airport and shut them down, or to give one preference over the other? It is inevitable that some formula will be found to bail them both out. But I feel, in some way, this shows up the problem caused by our lack of real decentralisation – in the sense of regional authorities being able to decide things for themselves. I think it would be interesting if Limerick and Cork were told ‘here’s €160 million each. You can either use it to make your soon to independent airports debt free, or choose some other project where you would prefer to see the money spent on the understanding that your airport will go its own merry way unsubsidised – and into liquidation if that’s where life takes it.’

Without the element of local choice, it just becomes a matter of local politicians advocating anything that means more resources for their own areas. Even if its not their highest priority, or if the cost does not justify it, they’ll still look for it in the same way that a thief is happy to ruin your house just to get €50.

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