A Letterkenny town councillor has asked for the local authority to help with the development of Stevenson’s aerodrome at Dromore outside the town.
Independent councillor Jim Lynch said the Stevenson family has invested heavily in the aerodrome since it was established in 1969. Tabling a motion at the May meeting of the council calling for the council to help the development of the aerodrome, Cllr. Lynch said the Stevenson family are not looking to turn the airfield into a commercial airport but to make it an attraction for the town which will attract visitors.
“Their conviction is there because they believe in the potential that it has. I believe in this motion because of what I have seen. I believe that as members of a town that we all love so well and that the spin-offs would help immensely to develop our town.”
He said the airfield has already has excellent facilities with four runways and hangers for 21 aircraft. The field could be used for air ambulances, helicopters, air shows, and parachute jumping, he said. “We should be looking at this project favourably as an access into town. If we can access Letterkenny by road why not access Letterkenny by air as well.”
Cllr. Dessie Larkin supported the motion saying there would be potential for cargo flights, business and leisure.
But Cllr. Ciran Brogan said the financial problems facing the council would mean the council is not in a position to fund the project. “While I support what Cllr. Lynch is saying, this council will have huge challenges over the next few years and if we can continue to employ all the people we are employing we will be doing well. We have to be honest with ourselves and everyone else. I would support this infrastructure being improved, but the town council as a body is not in a position to fund it. I would be conscious of us as a town council sending out the wrong message.”
Cllr. Victor Fisher also supported the motion and said the council should listen to the proposals.
Cllr. Jimmy Kavanagh said anything that increases access to the town has to be considered very seriously. “Like the other councillors I would be very conscious of the financial constraints that we have.”
County Manager Seamus Neely said Cllr. Brogan had summed up the council’s position. “There is no funding in the council’s remit that I would be aware of,” he said, adding that he could arrange a meeting with the county council’s development team.