From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
From the Mayo News - 10 March 2004
By The Jaundiced Eye
13, Mar 2004 - 12:42

Knock Airport to lose Dublin route?

THE death knell has been sounded for Knock airport’s daily Dublin service with the publication of the Department of Transport’s review of subsidised regional air services. The report reveals that in 2003 government subsidisation of the Knock-Dublin route was five times that of the Galway and Kerry services and over twice that of other regional airports. "The position in Knock is striking. With by far the highest per passenger subsidy levels, it throws into sharp focus the cost implications of providing such a Public Service Obligation flight," the report states. Income from the service in 2002 (€660,000) was 52% of total flight income at Knock International. "Although the airport survived prior to the introduction of the PSO service (in 2001), it may have built up a dependency on the increased income, which may be difficult to reverse," according to the review. However, the report notes that Knock airport has a number of well-established routes to the UK and significant charter business, concluding that the airport "would likely survive the loss of the Essential Air Service Programme, unlike other airports."

A lot of people would just love to see Knock Airport fail and close down altogether. Just as they would like to be able to put up a gate at Termonbarry, Athlone and a few other Shannon Crossings to shut off those annoying complainers that live out there somewhere in the west. Giving them an airport just allows them to escape. And they have to pay every time they step onto a plain. Just like taxpayers all over Europe are doing for Michael O'Leary's RyanAir.

Shining Star

IT has been a long journey down the "You’re A Star" road for James Kilbane but the Achill man can look back on the competition with pride after finishing an astonishing second out of 5,000 contestants in the RTE talent show. The country was on tenterhooks right up until the show’s host Ray D’Arcy opened the all important envelope at 8.50p.m. on Saturday night to announce that Waterford’s Chris Doran would be the man the to represent Ireland in Turkey in May.

It was a bit like Mayo getting into the All-Ireland Final there for a while. And the outcome was something similar too!

True Hero

IN 1847, Admiral William Brown, former Commander-In-Chief of the Argentine Navy visited the town he’d left with his parents in 1786. Black ’47, the worst year of the Famine. Last week in Foxford, his ghost would surely have been proud that his memory was further emblazoned in his home town and that the Navy that he had led with such glory was again present, along with the Irish Navy, at the invitation of the Admiral Brown Society. The unveiling in Foxford Woollen Mills of an extended Admiral Brown exhibition, with projects by students of St Joseph’s Secondary School, Foxford and their Argentine counterparts was first on the agenda for the day. The projects adorned the walls and covered all aspects of Brown’s life, the Argentine Navy - past and present - and the Argentina of today. One project, by national school student Natasha Loftus, on the life of the Admiral was considered for special mention and the beautiful book by Thomas Hudson, Admiral William Brown, Master of the RiverPlate was presented to her for her efforts. A short walk then from The Woollen Mills to the bust of William Brown beside the Foxford church and national school. The bust and marble plinth are now adorned by two new cannons, crafted and cast by local man Tim Morris (eventually there will be four such cannons). Around the bust are four flag poles and four Irish navy Cadets hoisted the flags in honour of Admiral Brown ––Elizabeth Barrett hoisted the Irish flag, Alan Flynn from Tuam the Argentine flag; John Minahane hoisted the Admiral Brown flag, for which permission had to be obtained from the Argentine navy, and Gavin McCarthy hoisted the European flag. Admiral Rotolo of the Argentine navy and Commander Frank Lynch of the Irish Navy laid a garland wreath in his memory and the last post was played.

The Foxford Argentina links go back a long way. A long way to Argentina back in 1786 and indeed back to Mayo in 1847 during the famine. Perhaps the long sea journey was what got Admiral Brown interested in seafaring in the first place. It's good to see towns like Foxford keeping up links with far flung parts of the world.

Admiral Brown of Foxford and Argentina

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