A Mayo county councillor has suggested the local authority could waive the rates paid by Ireland West Airport Knock for a period of five years to further support the airport.
Cllr Michael Loftus, speaking at a meeting of the elected members of Mayo County Council on Wednesday, said he understand that IWAK is paying in the region of €150,000 in rates annually.
Elected members heard from head of finance, Peter Duggan, that countywide Mayo County Council has collected 81 per cent of rates owed for 2014, and is pursuing the outstanding 19 per cent with ratepayers, and negotiating payment plans with those who are having difficulty paying.
Cllr Loftus said putting ‘a stay’ on the rates paid by IWAK for five years would help the airport, and also send a message to Government that Mayo Council Council is serious about establishing a tax-free zone at the airport, which has been mooted by various elected representatives, officials and airport management for a number of years.
Chief executive Peter Hynes said Mayo County Council is leading a project involving seven local authorities across the region to invest €7.3 million for a 17.5 per cent equity share in IWAK to help secure its future and discussions on the rates issue and a tax-free zone may be “premature”.
“This investment is the first essential step,” said Mr Hynes.
Cllr Loftus agreed with this and said that he will bring the matter forward again at a later date.