Derry-Dublin flight subsidy axed
Keaveney has expressed fury at her own Fianna Fáil-led
Government after it axed the subsidy for flights
from Derry to Dublin. She tonight claimed that the
Government had "turned its back on the North West"
at a time when it needed support most. "With the
next three years being so significant for Derry,
with the City of Culture, the Clipper Stop-Over and
other events it is simply astounding to hear of the
loss of this vital support for a key way of
accessing Derry and East Donegal."
The Government has agreed to support the
continuation of a Public Service Obligation (PSO)
route between Donegal and Dublin and between Kerry
and Dublin but support for the Dublin to Derry Aer
Arann service will be dropped from July 2011.
"To remove a subsidy on
the basis that we have better alternatives to air
services, specifically travel by rail and road, I
simply cannot understand how that assertion can be
made for Derry," said the Moville-based senator.
"Month in and month out I have battled for the
Dublin-Derry direct train both at Stormont and in
Dublin. If Minister Dempsey sat on the 17.05pm
City of Derry Airport
train from Derry to go
to Dublin, as I did before Christmas, he could have
plenty of time, indeed five hours, to explain to me
about our improved links.
"On that occasion the 17.05 train was not going to
make the 20.10 connecting train to Dublin, despite
it being a 70-mile journey by car, until a member of
staff phoned and asked the Dublin train to wait. If
there was a real experience of 'the improvements',
there would be more interest in ensuring that that
train link got its much needed investment."
"We all know that these are challenging times and
that tough decisions need to be made but this is a
premature withdrawal of a vital support that has the
potential to knock us back in perceived and real
terms. Both Ministers Murphy and Dempsey need to
look to how this decision will play out," she added.