WDC Chair Responds to IWAK Funding Challenge

A recent appeal made by the Chairman of Ireland West Airport Knock [IWAK], Joe Kennedy, has been the subject of significant narrative within the Western region. Mr. Kennedy, whose support in furthering both philanthropic and economic initiatives is widely recognised, directed a public appeal to An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny at a recent function, to ensure his support to Ireland West Airport Knock.

Commenting on the statement made by Mr. Kennedy, Chairman of the Western Development Commission [WDC], Paddy McGuinness said “Mr. Kennedy is widely respected for his support and interest in the ongoing development of the Western region and, particularly, Ireland West Airport Knock. His comments are honourable and merely indicated that he hoped his aspirations for the airport, and those of An Taoiseach’s, were aligned”.

The WDC, which is the statutory body tasked with economic development of the Western region, is instrumental in developing, supporting and promoting tourism, enterprise and job creation initiatives. “Our remit is to support the Western region’s potential through a variety of means – tourism being a key element. With the Wild Atlantic Way being launched earlier this year, the West of Ireland will play host to a significant amount of new and return tourists, so we need to ensure our infrastructure supports this.”

With increasing passenger numbers, year on year, IWAK, Ireland West Airport Knock, is Ireland’s fourth largest international airport and offers direct access from key tourism markets in Germany, Holland, UK, France and Italy as well as other European countries. IWAK accommodated 655,000 passengers in 2013, and is on target to reach 700,000 in 2014, across 28 routes.

As a regional authority, with responsibility for seven counties, the WDC is focused on ensuring balance in the delivery of economic development opportunities. The ongoing enhancement of infrastructure is a theme which the authority returns to on a regular basis. Given that the general catchment for air travel destinations is two to three hours, the Western region’s airports offer essential access for incoming visitors, particularly to the 2,500 kilometre Wild Atlantic Way route. “Our airports play a central role in economic development, and therefore it has to be acknowledged that support in their growth is very necessary” added Mr. McGuinness.

“The Taoiseach has already given his support to several major infrastructural projects in the West and I have no doubt that the consolidation and expansion of Ireland West Airport Knock is a priority for him” said Mr. McGuinness.

Full information and details of the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland West Airport Knock’s schedules are available on their respective websites http://www.ireland.com/en-gb/wild-atlantic-way and http://www.irelandwestairport.com/].

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Contact Details:

Ian Brannigan, Head of Regional Development and CEO(a) WDC: ianbrannigan@wdc.ie