Senator Fidelma Healy Eames believes the saving of Galway Airport “is now at a crucial juncture” and a lack of immediate action could lead to its demise. The future of the Airport has been subject to widespread speculation in recent months.
PSO funding worth €960,000 annually was withdrawn on the Galway to Dublin Aer Arann service and a value for money report on regional airports has also recommended the cessation of its annual operation subvention funding, worth €1.3 million a year. A decision on its future funding is due from Cabinet within the next two weeks, but the Fine Gael Senator is realistic about the possible investment the airport is likely to receive.
“Cabinet is due to make a decision in the next two weeks, but we know that the State’s subvention is not there, certainly not to the tune of the past. Mismanagement by Government has left no money for investment in projects like this. Minister Vradakar has only €600,000 to be divided between all the regional airports, and it will be even less next year.”
Senator Healy Eames has urged local businesses to get together and save a facility that is having a significantly incremental effect on their trade. She believes that any such move would be welcomed and supported by Minster for Transport, Leo Vradakar.
“An independent survey carried out by the airport showed that 82 per cent of local businesses regarded the airport as important or essential. The airport is worth €31 million a year to the local economy, and this could affect up to 180 jobs.
“Galway Chamber of Commerce needs to urgently engage with local businesses to set up a private fund. Minister Varadkar believes this is a good proposal and would look seriously at it. The airport needs joint action at local and national level. What we have to use now is our imagination and creation. I will be meeting the employees of the airport separately, as this could have a huge impact on their lives.
“I will be pushing it hard at the parliamentary meeting tonight because I am worried if we don’t move now, we will lose the airport and never get it back