Monday, 20th August 2018
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FIANNA Fail Councillor, Eddie Mulligan is calling on Waterford's Government representatives to use their influence to make Waterford Airport's last throw of the dice, a winning one.

"In March this year, I warned that the future of Waterford Airport was in severe jeopardy with Minister for Transport, Shane Ross TD requiring an economic viability report for future funding," Cllr Mulligan said.

"This unseen report is now on the Minister's desk but this time it is accompanied by a substantial and well publicised business case for a €12M long needed runway extension with investors providing €5M, Local Authorities €2M and €5M match funding requested from Government."

Cllr Mulligan says that with Minister Halligan's close friendship with Minister for Transport Shane Ross and Deputy John Deasy's influence in the duo should be doing everything in their power to deliver the Government funding needed.

"All they need to do is highlight the Government's own words from the National Planning Framework," Cllr Mulligan said. "It's all there in black and white."

Page 40 of the Project Ireland, National Planning Framework states that Regional opportunities to leverage International growth are a priority. Under the section on Waterford, on page 52, it is acknowledged that the City is served by a Regional Airport geographically close to EU Trading partners and will be important in Ireland's response to Brexit. This is endorsed on page 142 where the regional airports are acknowledged as a key infrastructure for National and International regional development.

"This is a no brainer for Minister Halligan so I have to trust that he's about to get this deal sealed for us, it was after all one of his conditions when he accepted his role in Government," Cllr Mulligan said.

As for the enigmatic Mr Deasy, maybe he's going to surprise us all and confirm from his new constituency in the United States that he has secured the funding and a lucrative American Airline to be the first to use the new runway."

Waterford Airport served 83,000 passengers per year, over the period 2003 2013, during which time, operators were claiming that that the extension of the runway was a necessary infrastructural investment to facilitate use of the airport by larger jet propelled aircraft.

This would give the airport an estimated capacity in the order of 300,000 to 500,000 passenger journeys per year, in addition to new cargo opportunities and more importantly, competitive fares for passengers.

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