RYANAIR last night belatedly confirmed it had taken the Government up on its offer of multi-million euro subsidies to run flights from Dublin to Kerry.
Having previously slammed the subsidies as "extraordinarily excessive and wasteful", the low-cost carrier said its tenure on the route would slash €1.3m from the grants bill over the next three years. That saving implies Ryanair will be paid a subsidy of €7.5m for running the service, under a grant from a public service obligation (PSO) fund.
The low-cost carrier was initially offered the Dublin/Kerry route on Tuesday, snatching the lucrative contract from incumbent Aer Arann.
The Michael O'Leary-led carrier then said it was "considering" the offer, prompting speculation that Ryanair was preparing to refuse to accept the subsidies it has so frequently denounced.
In a statement last night, however, Ryanair confirmed it had formally taken up the offer and would double the capacity on the Dublin/Kerry service to 400,000 seats annually when the route kicks off on July 22.
Ryanair's accession to the PSO route comes just two months after the airline called on the Government to scrap the scheme.
"This money is being poured down the drain by the Irish Government," said Ryanair's then-communications boss Peter Sherrard. "One can only imagine how many hospital beds or autism schools or cystic fibrosis centres could be built and run with these vast sums of money."