WHILE the Board of Ireland West Airport Knock (IWAK) has distanced itself from media reports of the Mayo airport being used in the future to facilitate the US military, a local anti-war activist, Mr John Mulloy, has dismissed such a development as impractical and unlikely.
A prepared statement on behalf of IWAK’s newly-appointed board confirmed that the airport’s ‘current priorities are to create medium and long haul passenger flight services, including transatlantic services, for people in the region and for tourists from the United States’. The statement also emphasised the acquisition of much-needed capital funding to support the airport’s ‘undoubted ability to expand’.
“The Airport board has made no decision to seek or commence services for US military aircraft. Any such decision would only be taken in the light of the views of all Board members,” it read, referring to comments made by board member, Mr Ulick McEvaddy as solely his ‘personal opinions’.
A front-page Sunday Tribune article this week suggested that the ‘controversial prospect’ of using a second Irish airport for US troops flying to and from such countries as Afghanistan and Iraq is due to be on the agenda of the airport’s next board meeting. It claimed that new board member, Mr Ulick McEvaddy, will raise the issue at the upcoming meeting.
However, the board’s announcement, while acknowledging Mr McEvaddy’s aviation and military business acumen and influence and its value for IWAK, is emphatic about the board’s democratic nature.
“If at some point in the future the prospect of pursuing US military business arises, then Mr McEvaddy’s views, together with those of all other members, will be taken into consideration and as always we will proceed on consensus basis,” it concluded.
Board member and Parish Priest of Knock, Monsignor Joseph Quinn declined to comment further to The Mayo News. He confirmed, however, he had attended a meeting regarding the furore on Monday last (January15).
Meanwhile, Mr John Mulloy told The Mayo News it seemed unlikely that such a development would progress since existing facilities seem inadequate for large numbers of US troops. He argued that the State should instead be investing in developing the airport for the people of Connacht.
“If carried out, this proposal would further Ireland’s complicity in the US war machine which has seriously destabilised so many parts of the world,” said Mr Mulloy, a lecturer at the Castlebar campus of GMIT.