Waterford Labour Deputy Brian O’Shea has been informed by the Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey, TD, that projects identified for funding at Waterford Regional Airport included a proposed runway extension.

Minister Dempsey was replying to a Parliamentary Question by Deputy O’Shea in regard to the proposals he had for funding for the proposed runway extension at the airport. Minister Dempsey said there were no existing contractual commitments in respect of the project and, in the current financial climate, his priority would be safety and security related projects.

The Minister stated that, because of the difficulties with the public finances, he decided in July of last year that, insofar as development projects were concerned, expenditure under the regional airports grant scheme should be focused on project elements where the airports had already entered into contractual commitments.

The capital expenditure grant scheme for all the regional airports in 2010 was €3m, said Minister Dempsey, and his Department was currently aiming to establish priorities for grant aid from the funds available. Expressing his grave disappointment at the Minister’s reply, Deputy O’Shea said the Minister’s reply was typical of the government’s abandonment of Waterford which was the gateway city to the South East.