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Transport Minister speaks ahead of concerned residents' meeting on Aran Islands flight contract

Jane O'Faherty

Published 01/09/2015 | 12:02

Paschal Donohoe
Paschal Donohoe

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe has expressed his views on the awarding of the Aran Islands flight service contract to a helicopter company

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Mr Donohoe had previously declined to comment on the contract, which will see the current airplane service replaced with a route from Galway Airport – 52km away from Rossaveal ferry port.

The decision to grant the contract to the company has been met with dismay by locals, as Rossaveal was often used when flights were cancelled due to poor conditions. The existing flight service is just 10 minutes away from the port.

Read more: Where do local TDs stand on the Aran Islands air transport issue?

Concerned residents are set to meet with Gaeltacht Minister Joe McHugh at the Connemara Coast Hotel at 3pm today.

Minister Donohoe said he hoped that the meeting would address people’s worries about the plan.

“The decision was made as the result of a tendering process that everybody participated in, and I hope as a result of the meeting that is happening today people’s concerns in relation to it will be understood,” he said.

Read more: 'It would be devastating for the island. The plane has saved lives'

“But I also hope the way the new service could operate will also be made clearer to everybody who does have concerns on the matter.”

He added that, having gone through similar processes before, he understood that people had concerns about how the decision was made. 

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