CLARE county councillor, James Breen has asked the boss of the Shannon Group to throw some light on a claim that the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) hindered efforts to establish a new flight between a province in China and Shannon Airport.
Speaking at a Clare County Council meeting on Monday, Councillor Breen asked Shannon Group chief executive officer Matthew Thomas to confirm or deny whether the DAA had “scuppered” a new deal for a route to China.
Councillor Breen said he was present in Shannon Airport in 2015, when a deal was signed in principle between representatives of Yunnan and Shannon Airport for new flights between the two destinations.
Mr Thomas said he was not aware of any new deal being “scuppered” and pledged to get back to Councillor Breen with further information.
Clare County Council has said that meetings that were held with Councillor Breen, elected members and local authority officials, as well as with the acting chief executive of the Shannon Group and senior officials at Shannon Airport, to explore the possibility of a direct air link between Shannon and Kunming International Airport in Yunnan Province in May 2016.
The delegation invited airport executives to Yunnan to meet with officials at Kunming Airport.
Councillor Breen’s version of the events leading up to the deal is backed up by Councillor PJ Ryan, who told The Clare Champion he was also present, with former director of service Ger Dollard, in the winter of 2015 when an agreement was signed in principle to develop the new air link.
Councillor Ryan said he had understood that whatever needed to be put in place would be done to ensure this new air link happened.
The independent councillor said he was informed earlier this week by a member of the Shannon Group that negotiations were still continuing, concerning this new air link.
“It seems a long time for negotiations to be continuing. I would like these negotiations to be concluded as quickly as possible because Shannon Airport needs all the new passenger traffic it can get.
“I would also like Deputy Breen’s claim about the so-called interference from the DAA to be investigated to establish if this happened,” he said.
The DAA declined to comment about Deputy Breen’s claim about its alleged interference.