Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin demand decision on future Derry City airport

27 January, 2005

Foyle Sinn Féin MLA, Mitchel McLaughlin has called on British Secretary of State, Paul Murphy to close his deliberations on City of Derry Airport and release the funding urgently required for safety improvements and development.

The Foyle MLA said:

"Despite the pressing need of improvements and development of City of Derry Airport it has succeeded in increasing its throughput by more than 10% during the past year with more than a quarter of a million passengers now using the airport annually.

"This is a gauge of how important the facility is to Derry and the North West Region and it flags up the damage that will be done not just to the future of the Airport but to the potential regeneration of the NorthWest if the planned developments do not take place without further delay.

"There is growing evidence that officials in the DRD are briefing against investment in the NorthWest in general and Derry Airport in particular. It is totally unacceptable that these officials are permitted to engage in this activity unchallenged. Mr Murphy established a joint working group to prepare the case for the development of City of Derry Airport. That body has now reported and Mr Murphy needs to respond to its recommendations immediately.

"I am concerned that those in positions of influence and who are charged with development of this area, actually seem to be undermining the development of the NorthWest Region by grossly understating its requirements for growth in order to justify their own policy of neglect and east of the Bann bias.

"The infrastructure of this city has been neglected for decades and we have consistently been told that there is insufficient demand to justify such infrastructural investment in our roads, railway or airport. This never was justifiable, is not acceptable and the fact that the NorthWest is the fastest growing region in the 6 Counties exposes this reasoning as demonstrably false.

" I have written to Mr Murphy today to call for an urgent decision on the release of the necessary funds to allow the development work at City Of Derry Airport to proceed. I have also requested of the Mayor of Derry, Gerry Ó hÉara that he convenes the City's Civic Regeneration Forum to develop a cross-party and civic intervention." ENDS

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