asked the Minister for Tourism and Transport if he is in a position to announce the conclusions arrived at in his review of the operation of Farranfore airport, County Kerry.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Farranfore (Kerry) Airport.
The licensees have recently been in contact with my Department concerning the requirements that would need to be fulfilled for the operation of scheduled services at Farranfore. As matters stand the airport is not suitably equipped for Instrument Flight Rules — IFR — operations and my Department have indicated the facilities that would be needed to cater for such operations.
I thank the Minister for that rather standard reply out of the textbook for answering Dáil questions. Some months ago a review was under consideration and a sum of £1 million was mentioned in the newspapers last week by Ryanair and the board of Farranfore Airport. May I ask the Minister if he will go further than saying they have outlined to Farranfore Airport what is necessary and say that the Government will support financially, which obviously is the crux of this matter, the efforts of the directors of this airport to give Kerry the air link which it needs so badly at present? Will he give that commitment?
The Deputy knows very well that the Government are involved in cost cutting exercises for the most part.
I have noticed.
The Deputy also knows that a total of £270,000 plus of Exchequer grant assistance has been given towards the development of Farranfore Airport? I should like to assure the Deputy, in the interests of regional development, that further developments at Farranfore Airport will be uppermost in my mind whenever funds are available.
I do not want to enter into any argumentation with the Minister but defending a situation by saying that £270,000 is being spent there, in comparison with sums which have been spent on other airports in the west of Ireland does not strike me as being very convincing. Is the Minister, in effect, telling me that no further Exchequer finance is available at present and that he does not see it being available in the foreseeable future for this airport. The reality is that without State assistance there will not be any scheduled flights in or out of Farranfore Airport.
I would make a distinction with regard to the supplementary. First, if the Deputy examines the Book of Estimates he will see that there is no such provision in it. With regard to the foreseeable future, that is something else and I would not be prepared to comment on that.