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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 16 December, 2019

The government has agreed to buy an airport in Connemara

Cabinet approved plans to buy the airport, which is 28 kilometres west of Galway City, this afternoon.

Image: Shutterstock/Gabriela Insuratelu

THE IRISH GOVERNMENT has agreed to purchase Aerfort Na Minna in Connemara in order to ensure the long-term future availability of flights to the Aran Islands.

Cabinet approved plans to buy the airport, which is 28 kilometres west of Galway City, this afternoon.

Aer Arann Islands, a division of Aer Arann, operates from the airport with regular flights to the Aran Islands of Inis Mór, Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr.

Plans by the government to buy the airport have been mooted for some years now due to the threat that services to the islands would be withdrawn.

While a government spokesperson said the airport is a “strategic piece of infrastructure” for the State, the purchase is seen as one of the only ways to ensure long-term air connectivity from the mainland to and from the Aran Islands.  

It is understood a price has been agreed and is being finalised.

Speaking to this evening, Aer Arann owner and Oireachtas senator Pádraig O Céidigh said he could not comment as he is bound by a confidentiality as he is involved in the sale. 

However, he did state that the Department of Heritage, Culture and the Gaeltacht had indicated its interest in potentially buying the airport some time ago. 

O Céidigh said he told the government if they wished to offer a “fair and reasonable price” for the airport he would consider selling it. He added that a process then began and was recently completed. 

The airport offers three or four flights to the islands per day in the wintertime, and over twenty flights to and from the islands daily during the summer months. 

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