Clinton Invited to Open Aerodrome
Property Developer Jim Mansfield is hoping that former Us president Bill Clinton will open the refurbished Weston Aerodrome when he visits Ireland later this month
The airport development near Lucan has been controversial, with the high court ruling last week that certain works were unauthorised. However, Mr Mansfield said yesterday that this ruling did not affect the opening of the newly refurbished airport as the developments at issue were temporary structures erected until permanent structures were in place.
Mr Mansfield said he was not 100 per cent certain that Mr Clinton would be able to visit the airport but he was talking to Mr Clinton's people and "there is a good possibility, its probably going to happen".
The development was "99 per cent ready" and he hoped it would be ready for Mr Clinton's Irish visit. Mr Clinton' will be in Mr Mansfield's Citywest Hotel on May 23rd, when he will give a keynote address at a fundraising dinner for a national suicide prevention service being drawn up by RehabCare.
Mr Mansfield said he had an aircraft at Weston Aerodrome that had been used to transport the former US President Dwight Eisenhower and he thought Mr Clinton would like to see it.
A spokeswoman for Mr Clinton's office said she could not give any information about the former President's visit to Ireland.
"We typically do not post a public schedule for him anymore because he is now a private citizen" the spokeswoman said yesterday.
Mr Mansfield said his refurbishment of Weston Aerodrome had doubled its size. It includes a new control tower, offices, restaurant and viewing deck, runway surface, taxi-ways, car parking and more space for parking aircraft.
Last Thursday, the High Court upheld a claim by South Dublin County Council that certain development work at the airport was unauthorised and rejected Mr Mansfields claims that it was an exempted development because of its aiport status.
That ruling "doesn't affect this one bit at all" Mr Mansfield said, as the new buildings, which were replacing the unauthorised structures, were now in place.
He also said he was appealing South Dublin County Council's rejection of planning permission for a hotel and leisure centre. "That was dissapointing" Mr Mansfield said. "Its something I think is needed in the area.
The Irish Times, Thursday, May 5, 2005.