Eastwood: Derry Airport cannot be ‘casualty of political failure’

City of Derry Airport.
City of Derry Airport.

SDLP leader and Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood says political stalemate in NI cannot be allowed to threaten the viability of City of Derry Airport.

Mr Eastwood was speaking after the Permanent Secretary at the Department for the Economy said critical air route development funding would not be made available to the airport despite an Executive commitment.

Mr Eastwood said: “The price for political failure cannot once again fall on the people of Derry.

“The Executive made a specific commitment to ensure the viability of City of Derry Airport as a key regional transport infrastructure centre. That commitment cannot be reneged on now. Political instability cannot lead to economic instability in the North West.

“People in the North West cannot be treated like second class citizens again.

“It beggars belief that air route development funding which was allocated for the last year has been sent back to the Department of Finance and will not now be reallocated to save a regional airport. This bean-counting mentality can’t continue.”

Mr. Eastwood said the funding issue only occurred because former Finance Minister Mairtín Ó Muilleoir did not “discharge his primary duty to pass a budget”.

“His dipping, diving and delays are now starting to have serious consequences,” he added.

“I have written to the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Finance asking that this resource be released immediately. This matter must be resolved.”