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Departmental Reviews

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 4 November 2021

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Questions (223)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

223. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Transport when he will publish the review by his Department on the viability of air routes on the island of Ireland. [53733/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the Deputy is aware, in the context of supporting greater connectivity on the island of Ireland, the Irish Government has agreed ‘to take forward a review of the potential for Government support to renewed viable air routes from Cork to Belfast and Dublin to Derry, working with the UK Government and Northern Ireland Executive to deliver improved connections as a priority’ as part of its commitments under New Decade New Approach.

My Department is progressing this review and has engaged extensively with relevant stakeholders including relevant airports, as well as representatives from the Department for the Economy (NI). Engagement has also taken place with the Department for Transport (UK), given that civil aviation is a reserved matter and is under the remit of Westminster.

In consideration of potential supports for renewing services, my Department is taking account of previous history, prospective demand, likely costs and long-term sustainability goals, having regard to the recently launched all-island Strategic Rail Review and plans for improved road connectivity, particularly the A5, between Derry and Dublin.

This review, as well as the delivery of identified infrastructure projects to achieve greater cross border connectivity, has been on the agenda of all transport sector meetings of the North South Ministerial Council and is part of the work programme of cross-border infrastructure and investment commitments under the New Decade New Approach agreement.

While it had been hoped that this review would be complete by the end of the summer, this work was impacted by the collapse of Stobart Air on 12 June with the immediate cessation of PSO flights on the Donegal/Dublin route. Restoring this connectivity to the North-West was a priority for this Government and an accelerated procurement process was undertaken to restore services as a matter of urgency. As this process has been completed and services on the Donegal/Dublin route have re-commenced, it is now the intention that this review will be finalised by my Department and provided to me for consideration in the coming weeks.

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