See press release below and note the most significant piece of new information at last Monday night’s City Council meeting was when the City Manager confirmed in his written report to Councillors that the County Council contacted the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht on the 27th August 2015, the same day that all the Councillors received an email confirming to the Department that no agreement was in place with the owners of the Airport!
Press Release/Catherine Connolly 15th September 2015.
Cllr Catherine Connolly said she very much welcomes the solidarity shown by Galway City Councillors with the people of the Aran Islands in passing the motion calling on the Minister not to sign any contract with the Helicopter Company at last Monday night’s meeting.
Cllr Connolly said she tabled a motion at last Monday night’s City Council meeting asking for further clarification from the City Manager on whether permission to use the Airport at Carnmore for the next four years had been given to the company who came first in the recent tendering process and further the motion called on the elected members to stand with the residents of the Aran Islands and called on the Minister not to sign any contract with the said company.
In response to the first part of the motion, the Manager confirmed that there was no agreement in place between either the City or the County Council and Executive Helicopters regarding the use of Carnmore Airport for the next four years.
In addition and significantly, the Manager also confirmed that the County Council had informed the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht of this fact on the 27th of August 2015, the same day that all Councillors were so informed.
Given this clarification, the extension of time to mid November given by the Department to Executive Helicopters to clarify the situation makes absolutely no sense she said.
Furthermore the City Manager also confirmed that the feasibility study on the possible uses of the 115 acre Airport site would be completed by the end of September and would come before the City Councillors at the October meeting for discussion.
Given this additional clarification that the feasibility study has yet to be completed and discussed it would not have been possible said Cllr Connolly for either local authority to have given any sort of long term consent for the use of Carnmore Airport as appears to have been set out by Executive Helicopters in their submission. .
In view of these facts and clarifications, it is time said Cllr Connolly for the Minister to face reality and accept that he cannot possibly sign any contract with Executive Helicopters.