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Sunday 22 January 2017

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

Published 01/09/2015 | 02:30

Noel Grealish
Noel Grealish
Paul Connaughton Jnr, Fine Gael
Michael Kitt, Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Gaeltacht issues

Michael Kitt, Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Gaeltacht issues

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I have a lot of concerns about this decision. There are issues about the use of Galway Airport and concerns about how a helicopter will operate in bad weather.

Derek Nolan, Labour:

When I heard it initially, I thought it was a joke. It is going against everything the public and local politicians want. It really seems to make no sense. It is going into the city, instead of Connemara, and there are serious concerns about the licence.

Brian Walsh, Fine Gael:

I have concerns about the reliability of a level of service. There are question marks over the use of the airport. The operators of Carnmore say the aviation licence will expire later this year and there is no guarantee that it will be extended.

This needs to be fully fleshed out before we proceed with this.

Ciarán Cannon, Fine Gael:

We need to get some more information on this. If Carnmore airport is to be the access point, then as far as I can determine, the local authorities who own the site are not aware of the plans. It is very much up in the air. At the moment, we have an information vacuum.

Noel Grealish, Independent:

I have serious concerns about the awarding of the contract to Executive Helicopters. Aer Arann Islands have provided an excellent service for the past 45 years and that is evident by the islanders' support of them.

Seán Kyne, Fine Gael:

I would have concerns about how viable the new service would be and how many locals might use that service. The most important thing is the location of the airport. They still have not got approval from the councils, saying they can use that airport.

Paul Connaughton Jnr, Fine Gael:

From speaking to people, I would have concerns but hope that any resolution found is for the benefit of the islanders. I know how important a service this has been for them for many years. Connectivity now is more important than it ever was, so we need to make sure that it is resolved quickly.

Éamon Ó Cuív, Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Community Affairs:

He [the minister] should scrap the tendering process and start again. The only simple thing to do is stop this.

As an ex-minister for the islands, I am appalled at what this Government has done.

The islanders are meeting the minister and they requested that the local TDs be there and the minister said no. I find that utterly extraordinary.

A lot of money has been spent recording the fantastic literature of the Blaskets.

We have, on the Aran Islands, that culture alive and thriving.

We need a modern, high-quality and frequent service to and from the island.

Our islands are a very valuable national asset, because it's a very well-recognised, international, iconic brand.

Colm Keaveney, Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Mental Health:

It calls into question the Government's policies for rural Ireland, the regions and islands.

The alternative put forward in the tendering process is far inferior and does not take into account the broad range of services on the island (such as) public health nurses and teachers.

The Government is paying significant lip service to rural Ireland.

It has caused significant upset regionally.

Irish Independent

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