Ross grants €5m funding for runway extension
• Accusations of ‘parish pump politics’
• ‘Dublin centric’ critics and naysayers urged to ‘get off our backs’
WATERFORD politicians have urged “Dublin centric” critics and naysayers to “get off our backs” in relation to the controversial funding announcement for Waterford Airport.
Since news of a €5m investment for a new runway at the airport was announced by Transport Minister Shane Ross last week, Waterford Airport and its level of activity have come under intense national scrutiny.
A series of national media reports have suggested that the airport is a ‘white elephant’ and the subject of ‘parish pump politics’. However, Waterford politicians and relevant stakeholders have highlighted the airport’s importance to the wider South-East economy and have also pointed out that the airport is a base for the Irish coastguard helicopter along with a number of private planes.
Last week, the Irish Independent, in an article entitled ‘Shane Ross’s €5m grant for airport with no flights’, pointed out that the airport is within the constituency of Mr Ross’sIndependent Alliance colleague Minister of State John Halligan.The paper went on to point out that the funding allocation went against the advice of senior officials in a number of Government departments, including the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
The paper subsequently pointed out that taxpayers were routinely subsidising passengers’ flights by upwards of €60 per journey before flights were grounded in 2016 and has received almost €20m in funding from the State in the decade leading up to the suspension of commercial flights.However, Waterford politicians have reacted angrily to criticism from Dublin.