Funding for regional airports is vital for connectivity of rural communities and must be protected – Pearse Doherty TD
Sinn Féin TD for Donegal Pearse Doherty has called on the Government to commit to maintaining funding provided to the regional airports, including Donegal Airport, in order to ensure connectivity for rural communities.
The Sinn Féin TD was responding to calls by the Dublin Airport Authority and Shannon Group today to scale back government financial supports for regional airports as they were not delivering value for money.
Deputy Doherty said:
“The role of our regional airports goes beyond a value-for-money analysis. These airports provide vital connectivity between our rural communities in the West and South of Ireland and the rest of the world.
“I look at the role Donegal Airport plays in my own constituency and it’s not hard to see why our community need the services that the airport provides. The daily flights from Donegal to Dublin not only open up the northwest to tourism, but they also serve cancer patients who have to travel to Dublin for treatment. The 40-minute flight makes that journey much easier than the 4 or 5 hours it takes to travel by road each way.
“The northwest is not connected to Dublin or the rest of Ireland by motorway, dual carriageway or rail. For those who live in Donegal and travel to work or study in Dublin, the regional airport makes this possible. In addition, Donegal Airport offers flights to Glasgow too which allows us to keep and foster the connection between this part of Ireland and Scotland which was forged through many years of emigration. Donegal regional airport provides a gateway to this part of Ireland and is essential for those who live, work and have located their business here.
“Therefore, I am calling on the Government to support our regional airports in Donegal, Ireland West, Kerry and Waterford and to maintain their funding during these difficult times. This is vital for the survival of the communities who depend on the services of these airports.