Derry ratepayers have been boosted by the government’s move to pump £8.6m into City of Derry airport.
It was revealed yesterday that the North’s Executive has allocated the money to the Department of Regional Development which made a bid for the funding to pay for health and safety works.
It was feared that ratepayers in Derry would have to fork out for the essential works - including runway and infrastructure improvements recommended by the Civil Aviation Authority - which have already been completed.
The funding has been made available from the February monitoring round which includes funds not allocated by government departments during that spending period.
Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney paid tribute to the work of DRD Minister Conor Murphy in securing the funding for the airport works. “As a result of lobbying from Martina Anderson and myself Minister Murphy went on to make a successful appeal to Finance Minister Sammy Wilson and that will benefit all the people of Derry.”
Foyle MLA Pól Callaghan welcomed the money for the “key asset” in the North West’s economy.
City of Derry Airport is a key asset for the region and very important to the promotion of tourism, particularly in the run up to the City of Culture 2013 celebrations. It is also important in building trade links and serving the whole North West economy.”
However, Mr Callaghan criticised the architects of the draft budget for not “giving significant priority to other key projects in the North West” including the A6 Derry to Dungiven Road and running costs for the planned radiotherapy centre at Altnagelvin.
Sinn Fein Councillor Gerry MacLochlainn welcomed Minister Conor Murphy’s successful bid for £8.6 million towards City Of Derry Airport Safety works.
“This is great news for the City as we faced with the possibility of a 1.5 % addition to the rates if Conor had not succeeded in his bid.
“The essential safety works to City of Derry Airport are vital for its continued development as a vital piece of infrastructure for this city and region.
“At a recent meeting with the First and Deputy First Ministers, Minister Conor Murphy, DRD, and Sammy Wilson, Minister Murphy expressed his committment to Derry Airport and within days he issued a ministerial directive to make the necessary contribution.
“He has now secured the bid of £8.6m which will assist in keeping our rates for the coming year down.
“I want to applaud Conor Murphy’s commitment to development of the North West in general and Derry in particular.”