O’Dea Air Force Base

In August, 2007, Aer Lingus chief executive Dermot Mannion announced that it is to cease direct flights between Shannon Airport and Heathrow Airport.

The announcement comes amid growing numbers of U.S. Military Flights through Shannon Regional Airport.

Willie O’Dea (TD) was appointed Minister for Defence in September 2004. He is the local representative for Limerick and although O’Dea has publicly complained at the Aer Lingus decision, it has come to light that he had prior knowledge of the plan to end the Shannon – Heathrow route.

It has emerged through the leak of a highly sensitive Department of Defence document this week that the ceasing of flights by Aer Lingus is the first of many to come. The leaked memo details a program of cessation of civilian flights from the Shannon air hub. This reduction in civilian flights is to coincide with an increase in military flight activity culminating in the closing of Shannon airport to all civilian flights in May, 2009. In June 2009 O’Dea A.F.B. will be opened at the location of Shannon Airport once the necessary security measures have been put in place.

Pictured below is Wille O’Dea (TD) Minister for Defence, at a Press Conference to announce the renaming of Shannon Airport to O’Dea A.F.B. in his honour.



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