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Tag Archives: transport

New transport infrastructure agency

The passing for the Roads Bill 2014 paved the way for the establishment of a new agency -Transport Infrastructure Ireland – through the merger of the National Roads Authority (NRA) and the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA). The merger of NRA and RPA is intended to demonstrate the best and most efficient use of public resources consistent with the Government’s public sector reform agenda and, in particular, its Agency Rationalisation Programme, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said, “’The new merged body will benefit from the sharing of technical and professional expertise developed over the years in the RPA and NRA. This will help to create a new streamlined organisation which will play a key role in maximising the contribution that the State’s investment in transport can make to supporting our growing economy and to meeting Ireland’s longer-term economic and environmental objectives’. The ministerial orders, giving effect to the merger provisions contained in the Bill, will be executed in the coming weeks.

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Clare senator to quit FG if Aer Lingus share sold

ALREADY contentious, Shannon based Fine Gael Senator Tony Mulcahy has turned up the political heat regarding the potential sale of the State’s share in Aer Lingus, as he has vowed to resign the party whip if the Government does sell to IAG. He made his comments after IAG CEO Willie Walsh addressed the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications. Mr Walsh told the Committee that in the event of an IAG takeover, Shannon would get a five-year guarantee of Heathrow connectivity. However, after being quizzed by Senator Mulcahy, he acknowledged that he was not offering any guarantees around the preservation of the Aer Lingus services between Shannon and the US. While Mr Walsh did say that transatlantic services from Shannon have “huge potential” and that the numbers travelling on them are likely to increase in the summertime, this didn’t cut much ice with Senator Mulcahy. In a statement released shortly after the Committee sitting he said, “I cannot support …

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Walsh offers five-year Heathrow guarantee for Shannon

SHANNON and Cork can have guarantees of Heathrow connectivity for five years if IAG buys the State’s share in Aer Lingus, its CEO Willie Walsh pledged at today’s meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications. Clare political figures have expressed concern about the possibility of Shannon losing its vital connectivity to Heathrow in the event of a takeover, but Mr Walsh insisted that the guarantee he is offering is far better than what the airport actually has already. He also claimed that while the concern is at one level understandable, it is actually misplaced, given that the route is profitable. Indeed, he went so far as to say that the current Aer Lingus management could not match the IAG guarantee without drawing the ire of some of the shareholders. While he said IAG is happy to give the guarantees and that there is no reason to pull away from what is a profitable route, he stressed that he will not give …

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Dooley clashes with Shannon Airport strategy director

THE current Aer Lingus ownership structure gives no guarantees on the provision of Shannon-Heathrow services, group strategy director of Shannon Group, Patrick Edmond said at the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communication. Various political interests have called for the State’s shareholding in Aer Lingus to be retained, claiming it ensures connectivity for the Clare airport. However, Mr Edmond said that is not the case, pointing out that in 2007, Aer Lingus management, under the same ownership structure as exists now, transferred all of the Heathrow slots serving Shannon to Belfast. While Clare TD Timmy Dooley challenged him, Mr Edmond stood firm on his observations. In his first contribution to the sitting, Mr Edmond said that if the Government does opt to dispose of its 25% holding, it should make sure it gets some guarantees around connectivity. “We would, therefore, expect that any Government decision to sell the State’s Aer Lingus stake to IAG would be conditional on an enforceable …

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No Shannon guarantee no deal, Minister hints

WHILE he didn’t go as far as saying that there is no prospect of a deal with IAG on Aer Lingus in the absence of guarantees for Shannon, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe stressed that connectivity for the Mid-West will be a very important consideration, when he spoke to The Clare Champion. “We’re looking at all of the consequences that the proposed bid could have for connectivity. I’m very much aware of how important connectivity is for the Shannon region and how important Shannon Airport is. I have said throughout all of this that national connectivity and the particular impact on our regions will be vital if a bid comes in,” he said. There have been claims that even if guarantees for Shannon and Cork are built into an eventual agreement between the State and IAG, they will have no real legal standing. Asked if there are any precedents where guarantees have been given on future connectivity, the minister declined to …

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Shannon years ahead of schedule-Varadkar

By Owen Ryan SHANNON Airport’s recovery has progressed much more quickly than he expected when he moved to separate it from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has acknowledged. On a visit to the airport, he said the fact that Shannon had moved into profit in 2013 (it was understood to be losing well over €100,000 a week in 2012) had surprised him. “To be brutally honest, as minister I really didn’t think the airport would manage that in year one. I thought it would have taken maybe three years for that to be done, so that’s one of the areas where we’re ahead of schedule really. It does mean that the airport is in a stronger position now to invest and to do things like build new hangars. Obviously, if you’re making losses you’re eating into your reserves and it’s harder to borrow. If you’re turning a profit, it’s much easier.” Mr Varadkar met with Shannon …

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Dooley protests over haulage levies

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Transport, Timmy Dooley  has called on the Minister for Transport to immediately raise the concerns of Irish hauliers with his British counterpart regarding the imposition of a new levy on all foreign vehicles entering British soil, including Northern Ireland. Deputy Dooley said that Minister Leo Varadkar must make it a priority to have the roads in Northern Ireland excluded from this levy, which could impact over 9,500 vehicles in Ireland. “Over 9,500 heavy goods vehicles in Ireland will be subject to the new levy which will be introduced on all roads in Britain and Northern Ireland from the first of April. “This will particularly affect hauliers from Donegal, for instance; that have to travel through Northern Ireland to access the South in many cases. It will also impact all businesses that transport goods between both sides of the border, it will actually discourage companies here from expanding into and trading with the North. “This could cripple …

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