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Aer Lingus decision will boost local economy

7 August, 2007

Sinn Féin West Belfast MLA Paul Maskey MLA has welcomed the Aer Lingus decision to base its new regional hub at Belfast International Airport.

Mr Maskey said:

"This is good news for local people who get new flights and hopefully cheaper flights.

"It is also good news for the local economy creating greater opportunities for foreign investment and also export opportunities for indigenous businesses and should hopefully lead to more tourists coming into this part of Ireland.

"While Sinn Féin welcomes additional the new Aer Lingus service between Belfast and London Heathrow, we are concerned that simultaneously services are being withdrawn from Shannon Airport, a key access point to the mid west region. Sinn Féin believes that additional services could have been delivered in Belfast without removing the Shannon services. Ensuring that the mid west region is adequately served with air links is vital to achieving balanced regional development, which is after all our objective across the island.

"In recent days the murals in West Belfast have been identified as a huge draw for tourists. I believe that there is a huge potential in developing our political tourism but this will need the political will to recognise and appreciate that tourists are interested in our history. It requires a commitment to investment." ENDS

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