Aer Lingus are moving their Heathrow slot from Shannon to Belfast. (It's a wonder they didn't say the move was a protest against the US troops using the airport. We all rememeber how they used 9/11 to make some well needed staff cuts.) This is a blow to the west because this will mean that Shannon will have no link to Heathrow, which is a major international air transport hub.
I don't blame Aer Lingus for doing what they did; business is business. I blame the government for privatising Aer Lingus in the first place. Aer Lingus no longer serves the citizens of the state but the stockholders of the company. Profit before people; business is business. I also blame the government for failing to provide proper infrastructure for the west. This has resulted in the airport never reaching it's full potential and will now make it hard for the airport authorities to attract another airline with a Heathrow slot to spare.
This is good news for Belfast. Seeing the Unionist reaction, I think they're starting to realise that Northern Ireland's fortunes best lie in an All Ireland economy; business is business. (If and when the UK converts to the Euro, the state of Northern Ireland will exist in name only.) Access to Heathrow from Belfast is good news for all of Ulster and North Connacht - Sligo to Belfast is quicker than Sligo to Shannon.
However, with a continuation of bad regional development like this, we will end up with two black-holes of urban sprawl, with neighbouring counties sucked into Dublin or Belfast. (Kildare is now referred to as 'Dublin's doorstep' on the Bord Fáilte website. Dublin's doormat, more like.) The only reason Belfast hasn't exploded (bad use of language, maybe) like Dublin is because the troubles held it back for so long.
But with peace taking a strong hold, the climate is perfect for business to rise and claim all.