Passenger numbers at Shannon airport have declined from 3.1 million to 2.72 million in 2009, representing a 12 per cent drop from last last year. Passenger numbers fell from 3.6million to 3.1million in 2008.

Further falls are expected this year as Ryanair reduces its fleet in Shannon from six planes to one.

The chairman of the Government's Mid-West Regional Taskforce, Denis Brosnan, said that a plan must be implemented to save the region from economic ruin.

“Something must be done to stop the decline in passenger numbers, which has been huge, steep and massive, before Shannon becomes irrelevant.

"This isn’t just for Shannon, this is for the whole well-being of the region. To preside over an airport that is losing 12 per cent of its passengers per annum? What is the endgame? I don’t know. Something must happen,” continued Brosnan.

The taskforce was established shortly after Dell let 1,900 workers go in the region last July.

The taskforce published a report last year with 20 recommendations. However, Brosnan says that the Irish government has made little or no progress in the matter, and that state agencies are doing little or nothing to attract investment to the region.

"This region is in a bad state. It is declining so fast; declining faster than anywhere else in Ireland. The time for politics is over – we better do something.

“They are not working as far as we are concerned, and we can’t continue to have more of the same. Otherwise, high unemployment will be with us to stay.”

Brosnan said that one in seven people are unemployed in the region, and 20 per cent of people under the age of 25 were without a job.

Shannon Airport is at risk of becoming a ghost town