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Derry-Dublin flight subsidy axed 13.01.11

SENATOR Cecilia 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.
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