Fall in US troop numbers 'a double hit'
A sharp drop in the number of US troops passing through Shannon Airport will further hamper efforts in creating an independent entity at Shannon, Fianna Fáil transport spokesman Timmy Dooley has said.
He was commenting on figures provided by Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar confirming the number of US troops passing through Shannon was plummeting.
Since 2001 about two million US troops have passed through as part of the US war effort in Afghanistan and Iraq.
However, in a written Dáil response to Sinn Féin’s Pádraig MacLochlainn, Mr Varadkar said 45,000 troops had passed through Shannon in the first four months of this year.
Mr Varadkar confirmed fewer than 250,000 troops passed through Shannon last year, and on a proportional basis the numbers have dropped by 46 per cent to date this year.
The decline follows US president Barack Obama’s announcement last year of a gradual troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq.
Mr Dooley said yesterday the sharp drop in US troop numbers would result in “a double hit” to Shannon Airport’s revenues.
Last month Ean Malone, a director of Shannon-based firm EFG Catering, which provides in-flight meals to US troops, said the company’s revenue from US troops “has dropped significantly” in the current year.