Council rejects call for closure of City of Derry Airport


Derry City and Strabane District Council is to write to the Northern Ireland Executive, asking it to review its decision not to ban travel between the North and Britain.

A virtual confidential meeting was held yesterday by the Council to discuss growing concerns surrounding Covid-19 and claims that airports in the North are being used by English passengers as a 'back door' for travel to EU countries.

Air routes between Britain and the Republic were closed down earlier this month following a sharp rise in the number of Covid-19 cases and a new variant of the virus, particularly in England.

However, airports in Northern Ireland, including City of Derry Airport, remain open.

Independent members Paul Gallagher and Gary Donnelly sought the emergency meeting after the executive refused to ban travel between Northern Ireland and Britain following the emergence of the new variant.

The two councillors claimed passengers were using Northern Ireland airports as a way around the ban on flights between Britain and other mainland Europe countries.

However, at the meeting yesterday, councillors rejected Mr Gallagher's proposal that City of Derry Airport be closed by 21 votes to 17.

Instead, the Council supported a proposal from SDLP member, Martin Reilly that the authority write to the executive asking it to review its decision not to ban travel between the north and Britain.