Sunday 4 December 2016

Council vote blocks plan for Aran helicopters from Galway

Brian McDonald

Published 24/09/2015 | 02:30

Minister for the Gaeltacht Joe McHugh
Minister for the Gaeltacht Joe McHugh

Plans by a helicopter company to use the former Galway airport site as a base for a service to the Aran Islands have effectively been grounded.

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Galway County Councillors passed a motion stating that any proposed use of the airport site for an air service to the islands up to 2019 is "not currently permitted".

Minister for the Gaeltacht Joe McHugh announced at the end of August that the preferred tender for the new air service to the Aran Islands for the next four years was Executive Helicopters of Woodford, Co Galway.

The news was greeted with dismay by the islanders, not least because the new service would, according to the helicopter company, be based at Galway Airport in Carnmore on the eastern outskirts of the city.

It has since emerged that neither Galway County Council nor Galway City Council, who jointly own the airport facility, had been consulted about it being used as a base for an island helicopter service.

An motion was yesterday put before a special meeting of Galway County Council - proposed and seconded by Connemara Councillors Seán Ó Tuairisg and Eileen Mannion,

It noted that any proposed lease of the site would be brought before the council for consideration "…and therefore Council further notes that any proposed use of the Carnmore site for an air service to the Aran Islands for the proposed period of the tender is not currently permitted".

Despite reservations by a small number of councillors regarding the effective meaning of the motion, it was passed without dissent.

Aer Arann Islands, which has provided the air service since the 1970s, has always flown from Connemara Airport in Inverin, just a 10-minute drive from the ferry port of Rossaveal.

Irish Independent

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