Commitment on Galway airstrips needed as future uncertain for Inishbofin and Cleggan sites

Inishbofin airstrip.

Inishbofin airstrip.

Providing regular air services to Cleggan and Inisbofin from Indreabháin must be included in any arrangements regarding the future use of the Inishbofin and Cleggan airstrips, a Galway West TD said this week.

Fianna Fáil Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív is calling on his constituency colleague, the Minister for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resource and Fine Gael TD Seán Kyne, to outline his plans for the two Connemara airstrips. Minister Kyne and his department are currently seeking submissions from interested parties in relation to the use of the sites.

Dep Ó Cuív said on Wednesday that it is “absolutely essential” that both sites “are retained as airfields” into the future “so that connectivity is not lost”. The Cornamona TD added that it was “important” that providing regular air services to Cleggan and Inisbofin from Indreabhan be included in any arrangements which are forthcoming.

He is also calling on Minister Kyne to ensure that “any agreement on the airstrips” facilitate the use of the sites by coastguard helicopters as they are “suitable for landing pads for these important services”.

Dep Ó Cuív accused the current, and previous Fine Gael led administrations of having “a negative view of such basic infrastructure” and of being “unwilling to provide regular services for Inisbofin”, similar to those which operate to the Aran Islands.

“Anyone familiar with the Aran Islands services,” he said, “is aware of the enormous benefits they bring to the islanders in terms of accessing services such as health, education and financial services.”

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