Galway West Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuív has welcomed confirmation this evening that the Transport Minister Leo Varadkar will provide an extra €5.9 million for regional airports this year, but has urged the Minister to reverse his decision to pull all funding from Galway and Sligo airports next year.


Deputy Ó Cuív said, “I am delighted that Minister Varadkar is implementing the decision by the previous Government in February to make funding available for Galway Airport.


“The Minister has had the good sense to take on board my argument that there would be no difficulty in providing the extra funding needed to implement the Fianna Fáil Government decision of last February. However, I do not understand why he refuses to implement our decision in full, to provide continuous funding to Galway Airport. I am now urging him to reverse his short-sighted decision to cease funding to Galway and Sligo Airports from 2012.


“Air access is vital to the west of Ireland. As a Galway Deputy I can testify to the importance of Galway Airport to the people of Galway, but also crucially to tourist and business interests there. Air access is a major issue for multi-national companies when they make decisions on where to invest their money and create jobs. Local IDA senior executives have made their views on this well known.


“I welcome the decision to continue funding Waterford Airport. But one has to wonder at the logic of how this sensible decision is made on one hand, while on the other hand Minister Varadkar is refusing Galway Airport. Consider Waterford’s proximity to Cork Airport and the fact that it is less than 100 miles from Dublin, while Galway is 130 miles from Dublin and there are a further 35 thousand people living west of Galway city who are up to 200 miles from Dublin.


“As a Deputy for Galway West I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Dáil, and with Galway Chamber of Commerce, Galway Airport and all other relevant interests in the west over the next six months to get this decision reversed. In the true spirit of Monsignor Horan, we see decisions such as this as just another mountain to scale, and we will not tire in our efforts in ensuring fair play and adequate transport infrastructure for the west”