The news that consultants will have to be employed to carry out a strategic study of Knock airport and its future direction, which will not be ready until September, was greeted with dismay from the opposition benches at the May meeting of Mayo County Council. County manager Peter Hynes, who is also a board member of the airport, gave the elected members an update on the work of the strategic review body of the airport which has met twice in the recent past to plan its future. Mr Hynes told the meeting, “It’s best to have the right plan in place, not the quickest plan”. He said that consultants were close to being employed to carry out the survey, which will have to be part funded by the council along with the other interested bodies involved with the airport.
Fianna Fáil Cllr Al McDonnell said, “I’m very disappointed with what the manager has to say, but I’ll take it up with him at the June meeting”. (The May meeting had been agreed to be adjourned after an hour as a mark of respect to a council employee who passed away last weekend ). Sinn Féin Cllr Gerry Murray said, “I’m astonished that we have to employ consultants. The big crisis is the bail out of Shannon to the tune of €100 million and the €8 million a year it will get in rents from the Shannon Development properties. Already we’ve lost two routes to Shannon”. However, Mr Hynes refuted that any routes had been lost to Shannon, telling the meeting there was no evidence that routes that were no longer flying were lost to Shannon at all. He also said the board of the airport were 100 per cent behind the current plan.