Ireland’s regional airports Galway, Sligo and Waterford are reportedly concerned about facing closure in 2012 due to the government’s decision to cease providing subsidies for operations to the airports (The Irish Times, 16-May-2011). Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar will reportedly inform the airports the government lacks the funds to continue providing incentives that the financial support he can raise will go to other airports that are regarded as being closer to viability. These airports include Knock, Kerry and Donegal. Minister Varadkar said regional airports had cost the Government EUR200 million over the past 10 years and that it simply could not go on (BreakingNews.ie, 16-May-2011). Waterford Airport CEO Graham Doyle stated that the airport, which employs 600 people, is “critical to the region’s success” (Irish Examiner, 16-May-2011).
Irish Government: "I think it was justified in the past when the road network wasn't as good and we needed to access remote regions and connect people to the main airports … I don't think that's justified in the future. And even if I did think it was justified, we don’t have the money anyway." Leo Varadkar, Minister for Transport. Source: BreakingNews.ie, 16-May-2011.