Govt to cut funding to Sligo and Galway airports from next year

The Government is pulling funding for Galway and Sligo airports from next year, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has announced.

The Government is pulling funding for Galway and Sligo airports from next year, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has announced.

Minister Varadkar said that funding for all regional airports will continue until the end of the year, but public funding for Galway and Sligo will end from 2012.

Donegal, Knock Ireland West, Kerry and Waterford airports are unaffected.

“The right thing to do is support the most viable airports, where there is also a clear geographical need for their services," he said.

"Otherwise there won’t be enough funding to support any of the airports in a meaningful way.

"As a result, the Government has decided that operational and capital funding will only be provided to four of the six regional airports from next year: Donegal, Knock Ireland West, Kerry and Waterford.”

Minister Varadkar is urging the administrators of Sligo and Galway airports to use the remainder of the year to try and secure their viability in some form.

He said all the regional airports must use the period up until the end of the year to prepare realistic business plans for the future, "as funding cannot be maintained at current levels".

"This decision is necessary to make best use of scarce Exchequer resources, and to ensure the efficient use of taxpayers’ money," Minister Varadkar said.

"The aim is to ensure that Ireland has a sufficient network of regional airports, while taking into account significant improvements in road networks, shorter journey times by road and rail, and the collapse in passengers flying domestically."

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