by Alan Jacques
THIS year’s Foynes Air Show moved closer to lift-off as Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Kevin Sheahan called on the local authority to “respond positively” to a request for a €50,000 grant from the event organisers.
Speaking at this month’s Adare-Rathkeale municipal district meeting, Cllr Sheahan told the council executive that the air show organisers were under pressure and needed a commitment from the local authority.
He also suggested a long-term commitment to the air show with Limerick City and County Council putting up €250,000 in funding over the next five years.
“We should respond positively. It is a paltry contribution to tourism in West Limerick, a drop in the ocean. People are still talking about the giant granny. If we do this, they’ll be talking the same way about the air show,” he said.
Fine Gael councillor Stephen Keary described last year’s air show as a “spectacular event” and said that a €50,000 allocation from the Council would be “money well spent”.
The 2014 airshow, which cost €115,000 to put on, attracted 20,000 spectators to the West Limerick port town, and was worth an estimated €1million to the local economy. This year’s event, due to take place in July or August, will mark the 70th anniversary of the closing of Foynes international seaplane base.
Organisers estimated the total cost for this year’s airshow at €140,000.
Fianna Fail councillor Richard O’Donoghue said it was great to see people from the city having to come out to rural Ireland for the Foynes event last year.
“This could be a success beyond our wildest dreams, creating an income for businesses locally and in the hinterland,” Fine Gael councillor Tom Neville predicted.
Director of Adare-Rathkeale municipal district, Tom Gilligan, told council members that he agreed with their sentiments.
“It’s an excellent project and we should wholly endorse it. It can only benefit the whole county and city,” he added.