Government must act promptly to

save Kerry air link

This is where Kerry’s five TDs must prove their worth to a county that has been neglected, ignored and blackguarded for decades by successive governments.

Kerry Airport has been struggling to cope with - and outlast - the Covid pandemic. And just when things had turned decidedly positive, as the vaccines were rolled out, as the economy opened up again after lockdown, as business, sport and leisure began to stretch their legs after months of enforced hibernation, Stobart Air up and died.

Stobart had operated the Aer Lingus regional network, including Kerry. After a calamitous period when there were virtually no air passengers moving in or out of Kerry, Stobart Air’s collapse was the last thing Kerry Airport needed.

Now the question is, how will the Government respond to ensure that Kerry maintains air connectivity with Dublin and other centres abroad - connectivity that is vital for business and tourism? It must not be forgotten that before the pandemic disaster revealed itself last year, tourism alone earned up to €600m annually for this county.

Prior to its collapse, Stobart Air operated out of Kerry with the assistance of significant State support. This public service obligation (PSO) arrangement also benefitted other airports - but it seems that only Kerry and Donegal will suffer the loss of its air link to Dublin with immediate effect, while this mess is sorted out.

The Government has indicated a replacement airline will be sourced to operate the PSO - but that is unlikely to be done and dusted before the middle of July at the earliest. One is entitled to ask, why the delay?

Why can’t the Government crack on with a new arrangement, with effect from next week, for instance?

Jesus wept...these people wouldn’t want to give anybody the impression they might be in a bit of a hurry.

Our Kerry TDs need to inject a bit of high octane aviation fuel into this entire matter. They need to speak with one voice, they need to tell the Government that Kerry is owed BIG TIME.

They need to deliver for Kerry.