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17/10/2021

Derry council's to ask Northern Ireland Executive to reconsider decision not to close airports

Concerns raised at increase in coronavirus cases in Britain

5 airport

City of Derry Airport

Derry City and Strabane District Council is to ask the Northern Ireland Executive to reconsider the decision not to close airports in Northern Ireland.

Air routes between Britain and the Republic of Ireland were closed down earlier this month following a sharp rise in the number of coronavirus in England in particular.

However, airports in Northern Ireland, including City of Derry Airport, which is owned by the local council, remained open.

Derry and Strabane councillors held a confidential meeting yesterday to discuss the current situation.

At the virtual meeting, which was not open to the media or members of the public, councillors voted in favour of a proposal to ask the Executive to reconsider its decision to keep airports in Northern Ireland open.

A council spokesperson said council officers will also compile a report on what the implications would be if City of Derry Airport was to operate only for essential workers.

Speaking after the meeting, Independent councillor Gary Donnelly said SDLP and unionist councillors refused to back a call to close down City Of Derry Airport ay yesterday's meeting.

"Whilst stringent precautions are placed on life here particularly on the business community many of whom will not survive the restrictions placed on them, council will continue to operate an airport which can be used as a channel for people from Britain to head to the 26 counties and then on to Europe," said Cllr Donnelly.

"Despite calls for airports to be closed during a recent Stormont debate, DCSDC had an opportunity to lead by example and actually take action on an airport they own. Let’s just hope that all the restrictions enforced on everyone else are not hampered by this decision."

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