Aran air service back on the brink

Na Minna Airport.

The people of Aran are once again suffering from brinkmanship between the Department of Gaeltacht Affairs and Aer Árann over the continuation of flights to and from the three islands.

The threat of a withdrawal of the islands’ air services as of December looms large this week – a ‘last resort’ scenario whereby planes would fly to Aran Islands from Shannon Airport, instead of Na Minna, is being considered by Government.

Pádraig Ó Céidigh, CEO of Aer Arann, has given notice to the Department that his airline will cease operations to the islands from Na Minna in Indreabhán from December 6.

Representatives of Co-Ops on Inis Mór, Inis Oírr and Inis Meáin have urged Mr Ó Céidigh – an Taoiseach’s appointee to Seanad Éireann – to withdraw the deadline.

In a joint statement, Tarlach de Blácam, Cathy Ní Ghoill, and Enda Ó Conghaile also urged Mr Ó Céidigh and his company to immediately enter into talks with Department officials.

The statement was issued following talks between Gaeltacht Minister Seán Kyne, and island representatives at Na Forbacha on Monday.

The Government has agreed in principal to buy Na Minna airport – and Mr Ó Céidigh has indicated a willingness to sell – but Department officials have insisted they will not enter negotiations about the purchase while the threat of the cessation of services remains.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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