Councils pay €1.1m for airport site
Galway's airport has been sold to the county's local authorities, ensuring the 115-acre site stays in public ownership.
The airport, which stopped servicing flights in 2011, was bought by Galway's city and county councils for €1.1m.
The sale represents the final nail in the coffin for the airport. It was closed to commercial flights after the removal of government funding in December 2011. Its aviation licence is due to end next week. It is still used by some private tenants, including a local flying club and parachute club.
"It will not reopen as an airport," said Jim Fennell, president of Galway Chamber, until now the majority shareholder in the site.
He said it was imperative to Galway Chamber, as the airport's seller, to ensure the site stayed in public hands. "It's a strategically important location – a big piece of land at the end of a major motorway."
He added that the site has great potential as the location for a high-tech business park.
Mr Fennell said the airport, which opened in 1985 was a victim of progress, made obsolete by the improvement of the country's motorway network.
"It is far easier to reach Galway by road, thanks to the quality of the new motorway. Galway residents will soon have better access to Shannon Airport too, since building on a motorway that connects the city with Shannon should finish next year."