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Knock chair calls for government investment in airport

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Knock chairman calls for increased  government investment in airport


Anton McNulty

antonmcnulty@mayonews.ie

The Chairman of Ireland West Airport Knock, Liam Scollan, has said the airport could create 1,000 more jobs if it were to receive the same kind of support the Goverment is giving Shannon Airport to help it attract inward investment to the region.
Mr Scollan made his comments after hearing that Mayo County Council had adopted the draft Ireland West Airport Knock Local Area Plan 2012-18 at yesterday’s special meeting of the Council.
Mr Scollan said that investment of around €40 million will be needed to ‘get the ball rolling’ and to get infrastructure in place, and he called on central government to show support.
“It is time we see attention focus at central government level in helping the airport attract investment. We have seen that recently in Shannon in relation to debt write-offs and the announcement of potential tax designation. Now that the local area plan is in place there is an opportunity for an equivalent effort to help Knock Airport be a job creator in the region at a wider level in the same way as Shannon … Knock is in that position now. [It can] get beyond the passenger issue now and expand out to create a wider range of employment,” he said.
The area plan for the airport was delayed for a week to deal with airport board requests that  aspects of the plan be changed. These changes included the zoning of land close to the airport’s runway from rural character to airside/landside zone.
The adoption of the amended local area plan was formally proposed by Swinford Fine Gael councillor Joe Mellet, who said the continued success for the airport was very important to the county. The proposal was seconded by Cllr Micheál McNamara and was welcomed by the majority of councillors.
However, the formal adoption was initially delayed because Independent councillors Frank Durcan and Gerry Ginty proposed that a representative from Knock Airport address the Council to prove that they were happy with the plan.
Cllr Ginty said he was supportive of the plan but would be happier to vote for the plan after he heard what the airport board had to say.
However, after it was confirmed that nobody from Knock Airport wished to address the Council, the Cllrs withdrew the proposal and the plan was formally adopted.
Speaking to The Mayo News, Mr Scollan said he was very happy with the plan, and he complimented the Council and councillors for engaging with the airport and listening to its concerns.

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