‘Abandoning’ Derry council to fund airport ‘wrong’ says Pádraig Mac Lochlainn who calls for Dublin contribution

‘Abandoning’ Derry City and Strabane District Council to fund an airport that attracts 40 per cent of its passengers from Donegal is ‘wrong’ a local T.D. has claimed.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 11:54 am

Buncrana-based Pádraig Mac Lochlainn says the Dublin government needs to step in and support City of Derry Airport.

“I raise the issue of the funding of the CoDA or, to be more exact, the lack of funding by the Irish Government and its recent predecessors. Derry city is the fourth largest city on this island. It is a part of the north west city region of Donegal, Derry City and Strabane and has a population of 300,000. It has been battered by partition but has fantastic leaders. No matter where people come from on the political spectrum, we have united to make the case for our region and access to it,” the T.D. said.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said Derry and Donegal have been ill-served in terms of connectivity. He described recent delays to the A5 project as ‘heartbreaking’ and bemoaned the dearth of rail connectivity from Donegal and Derry directly to the capital and the west.

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City of Derry Airport.

“That is why it is shocking that Irish Governments continue to refuse financial support to the CoDA,” he claimed. “Some 40% of the passengers passing through the airport come from Donegal and our Government makes no financial contribution towards it. DC&SDC has been carrying the can for the airport for years with no support from the Irish Government. The Stormont Executive has been funding it and the British Government has been contributing. Shamefully, our Government has abandoned the airport for ten years now.”

Addressing the Minister of State for Transport Hildegarde Naughton, he stated: “I am sure she understands, as a woman from the regions, that it is unthinkable and unacceptable for a region of 300,000 people to have no motorway, rail or air connectivity to our capital city. This has been going on for far too long.

“Like all airports, the CoDA lost a huge amount of business due to Covid, but it is up and moving again. I am delighted to have the opportunity to directly make this statement to the Minister of State. What has happened is totally wrong. We talk about all-Ireland development and working together but we have abandoned DC&SDC to run an airport when 40% of its passengers are from Donegal. That is wrong and must stop.”

Ms. Naughton stated: “As evidenced this week, with the launch of the National Development Plan 2021-2030, across that period we will see €2.4 billion invested in our State and regional airports ensuring the necessary infrastructure is in place to safeguard and enhance our international connectivity and ensure capacity for logistics, both of which are crucial to the economy. The Government will continue to support eligible regional airports under the regional airports programme to support connectivity and ensure safety, security and climate-related efficiency and resilience at these airports.”