Mayo Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin has requested the assistance of the Western Development Commission (WDC ) in drawing up a plan for the future development of Ireland West Airport Knock as an aviation hub for the region. After meeting with Deputy Mulherin, the WDC has agreed to investigate the opportunities and obstacles for the development of Knock so as to inform policy on transport connectivity for the region.
Speaking to the Mayo Advertiser this week, Dep Mulherin said that “there is a problem that there is no official national aviation policy for the country of for the regions. But part of the remit of the WDC is to shape and form policy for the region and this would fit in with the planning for the future of knock. The WDC takes in a large area from which Knock would derive most of its traffic, it’s all about everyone working together to ensure the best future of Knock going into the future.
The Ballina-based Dáil deputy has had meet with members from the WDC lately along with other Fine Gael Oireachtas colleagues as part of her role in the Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Internal Policy Committee of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party and discussed this and other issues.
Deputy Mulherin said earlier in the week that the WDC had both the expertise and interest to carry out this task and the organisation had enjoyed success previously when it had helped make the case which saw a change in criteria of the Energy Regulator which resulted in many towns in Mayo and Galway getting a connection to the gas mains.
Deputy Mulherin said in a statement: "The WDC have agreed to do this which I very much welcome along with the commitment of the Taoiseach and the Minister for Transport to meet with the Chair and board of IOWA in the near future to discuss concerns and plans for the future of Knock, especially in light of the substantial investment in resources and funding announced for Shannon airport
"We have to be creative in our thinking to make sure IWAK continues to be the success story it has come to be now and in the future. We cannot afford to delay. IWAK is the gateway to the West and North West region.
“ As we look forward to all the events in the region which will take place for The Gathering and the major drive to get our diaspora home and give them a heartfelt homecoming experience, it is a timely reminder that people from the four corners of the world can access our region via Knock which is imperative as our connection to the global village for tourism and business.
"I want to compliment the Chairman, board members, management and staff for their tremendous effort which has seen IWAK grow passenger numbers year on year on a shoe-string budget with efficiency at its heart and beat the trend of decline which has been the experience for other airports in the country."