Councillor Gerry Murray.

Airport hampered by €10m. matched funding stipulation

IRELAND West Airport is being hampered by a matching funding stipulation amounting to €10 million.

The Department of Transport is 'a hindrance rather than a help', Councillor Gerry Murray told a Claremorris-Swinford Municipal District meeting.

He explained how €40 million was allocated to the airport in the National Development Plan. The problem is with the department, which keeps applying regulations - to draw down the €40 million there has to be €10 million matching funding.

To come up with €10 million was going to be very difficult and he suggested there should be some exemption on state aid rules.

“There is a huge problem in the Department of Transport. Far from helping the airport, they are hindering them.”

Councillor Murray made his comments as he supported a notice of motion by Councillor Neil Cruise calling for an application to be made for capital funding to develop the strategic development zone (SDZ) at Ireland West Airport.

The motion, which has already received support from Mayo County Council's economic and enterprise committee members, asked local area councillors for their support – which was received - in calling on the council to put all the necessary plans and reports in place to prepare an application to the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund Category 1 for capital works in order to develop the infrastructure necessary for the strategic development zone at the airport.

The SDZ has the potential to create up to 5,000 jobs, he said, and they needed to get applications for funding underway.

Director of services John Magee said the council has been engaging with the various departments about funding opportunities. A small working group, which include the IDA and the airport, has been established to try and progress it.

It is a priority, he said.