City of Derry Airport sustainability at risk over funding - new Council audit report

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The long term viability of City of Derry Airport (CODA) has recently been identified as a high-risk, due to funding issues.

Derry City and Strabane District Councillors were told of the risk to the airport, and other Council strategies, at an Assurance, Audit and Risk Committee meeting on Monday, January 22.

A recently-drafted Corporate Risk Register identified six high-risk strategies: the Council’s ambitious capital programme, the financial stability of the Council, both in the short and long term, cyber crime, CODA funding, and the City Deal.

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The register identifies key risks which may “prevent the achievement of Council’s strategic aims and objectives”, and is then subject to review on a regular basis by Council’s Senior Leadership Team.

City of Derry Airport.City of Derry Airport.
City of Derry Airport.

The Council’s ambitious capital programme of strategic and community projects was also identified as a risk due to the “significant associated capital financing, staff resourcing and ongoing revenue costs”, while Council may not secure long term financial stability due to “pay pressures, central government funding cuts, inflation, cost of living pressures, capital programme affordability and risks to Council’s rates income.”

The Council’s Lead Assurance Officer, Denise McDonnell, said all “high-scoring risks” have action plans in place which continue to be “monitored and reviewed”.

The Council’s Chief Executive, John Kelpie, said mitigation strategies were moving forward for some of the identified risks, while others were not, as “something else is moving it backward”.

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He added: “What we might do is look at how the mitigation actions are contributing to [each risk’s] overall score.”

City Of Derry Airport.City Of Derry Airport.
City Of Derry Airport.

At an Audit Report presentation last year, Sinn Féin Councillor Sean Fleming said the current model of funding for CODA was “unsustainable”, and was another reason to reinstate the Northern Ireland Assembly.

People Before Profit Councillor Shaun Harkin said that the Council and rate payers were working under financial constraints, and concurred that that the financial burden of CODA should be with the government.

Andrew Balfour,

Local Democracy Reporter

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