European Parliament Regional Development Committee Chair visits Ireland West Airport
Chair of the European Parliament Regional Development Committee, Younous Omarjee MEP, recently visited Ireland West Airport. Omarjee was visiting on a fact-finding mission at the invitation of Chris MacManus, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands Northwest, to examine how the EU can play a positive role in addressing regional imbalance in Ireland.
MacManus and Omarjee met with Managing Director Joe Gilmore and Head of Finance Paula Roberts, and held a discussion on some of the key issues affecting the airport.
Speaking afterwards, MEP Omarjee said:
“I am pleased to be in Ireland this week at the invitation of my colleague, Chris MacManus, in my capacity as Chair of the European Parliament’s Regional Development Committee. I am here to meet with regional stakeholders such as Ireland West Airport, examine the positive role EU funding has played in the Northern and Western region, and to discuss how the EU can contribute towards addressing the decline of the west and northwest of Ireland.
“I was fascinated by the history of the airport and extremely impressed with the vision of Monsignor James Horan, founder or the airport. Its development into one of the four main airports in Ireland has been remarkable, with the airport expected to reach one million yearly passengers in the near future. It is a key driver of economic development in this region and I will be working closely with Chris MacManus at European level to ensure that regional airports are supported going forward.
MEP MacManus said:
“I am pleased to welcome Younous Omarjee to Ireland this week. He chairs a very powerful Committee in the European Parliament, which is especially important for us here in the west of Ireland given the need for European funding to address infrastructural deficits in our region.
“Ireland West is a critical driver of economic development and tourism in our region, supporting thousands of jobs and contributing over €180 million to the regional economy annually.
“Continued development of the airport is absolutely critical in addressing regional imbalance and ensuring international connectivity for our region.
“Joe outlined a number of key issues, such as potential funding restrictions should the airport exceed one million annual passenger threshold and the need to improve transport infrastructure in the region such as the Western Rail Corridor.
“In particular we focused on the need to prioritize development of the proposed 600-acre SDZ campus at the airport, which has the potential to create up to 6000 jobs and become a key economic driver for the West of Ireland.
“My Sinn Féin colleague and I will continue to highlight the importance of regional airports like Ireland West and work to ensure that they are supported by the State going forward. ENDS
See attached photograph from Ireland West Airport of (L-R): Chris MacManus MEP, Younous Omarjee MEP, Joe Gilmore (Managing Director) and Paula Roberts (Head of Finance)