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Midlands Airport at Horseleap

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:22 am
by Papa8
Was listening to local radio on the way to work this morning and see that the hoped-for airport at Horseleap made the news again. The man representing residents of Horseleap was interesting. He had only moved to the area 5 years ago, said the airport didn't affect him, the residents he thought might be concerned about things like noise pollution but didn't know this for certain in fact he had heard of no complaints. Let's hope a project of this size can get off the ground :D. Does anyone know anything about who this business consortium is and how ambitious of a site they are planning?

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:11 am
by Papa8
Actually to answer my own post I found this article from earlier this year. Patrick Little is from Axis Architecture and is a member of Tullamore Chamber of Commerce.

Midlands airport mooted in new study

Saturday February 03 2007

The idea of an airport in Horsleap was first mooted in late 2005 by the then President of Tullamore Chamber of Commerce, Brian Kenny. At that time, he suggested the village should initially be the venue for a heliport, which could, in time, become a full international airport.However, that idea has now been moved a step forward with the beginning of the feasibility study, whi
?We have a meeting arranged with landowners next Friday in Tubber. Before we talk to any public bodies we need to get residents opinions,? he added.

The idea of an airport in Horsleap was first mooted in late 2005 by the then President of Tullamore Chamber of Commerce, Brian Kenny. At that time, he suggested the village should initially be the venue for a heliport, which could, in time, become a full international airport.

However, that idea has now been moved a step forward with the beginning of the feasibility study, which will examine the costs, viability, scale and scope of an airport development in the midlands region.

The chamber see an airport as a key infrastructural development for the region, specifically the three gateway towns.

?Horseleap is an ideal central location to serve the three towns of Tullamore, Mullingar and Athlone. It is also close to the new motorway/rail network and it?s flat,? according to Mr Little.

He added an airport would increase population, business, bring in tourists and improve the quality of life of people in the midlands area.

?With the motorway opening up, we will only be 45 minutes from Lucan. It would be easier and a more pleasant experience for many people in Kildare, and parts of Dublin to get a plane from the midlands rather than Dublin,? Mr Little outlined.

It?s understood the study will take at least three months to complete, after which if it is deemed feasible, the chamber will then go looking for finance from the various public bodies.

?We would need to go looking for finance to develop the project further and get the public bodies approval

According to Patrick Little, ?It is all dependent on getting the business model right. It is a high risk project and all strategies would need to come together but it would be hugely beneficial for the midlands to have an airport,? he concluded.

Posted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 6:34 pm
by dowlingm
any word on A380 compatibility and Heathrow slots?

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 9:36 am
by Papa8
The airport made the local papers again yesterday.


The article mentions a straight-line site between Horseleap and Tubber approximately 2 and 1/2 kms by 1 kilometre apparently slightly closer to Horseleap than Tubber. They are putting together a business model now and they are stating that depsite RE rebuffing the idea it is achievable and would be an ideal location for bringing in cargo as well as passengers.

MOL is quoted in the article as even going as far as buying up land all around Mullingar to prevent an airport being built.

Dowlingm I would like to think that an airport specifically designed to cope with A380s may be in their feasibility study but somehow I think the only thoughts on that would be to earmark/future-proof land on the site they have in mind for long-term growth in that direction. As for Heathrow slots well that kind of planning is a loooong way away.

I should point out that I have nothing to do with this project and my only interest is from the point of view that it would be relatively close to where I live and I can see it in theory being quite viable.

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 7:19 pm
by dowlingm
p8 - was being a tiny wee bit tongue in cheek there.

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 4:01 am
I wonder if Ryanair will turn back on their decision like on everything else?, maybe a direct route from Dublin to Mullingar INTL for O'Leary?

Airport in Horseleap

Posted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:24 pm
by Joey8
Hi, dont suppose anyone has heard anything new or recent about the plans for the airport in horseleap?

It was originally to be based in tubber or that general direction but recent comments made have implied that it is now heading for the mullingar side of horseleap.

None of the locals have been contacted and id love to know who the REPRESENTATIVE of the area is supposed to be because if he/she is only in the area 5 years then its practically none of his/her business. The reason for this being that he/she wouldnt know half of the locals to know what interest they have or havent got so why would they be representing people who have lived here ALL THEIR LIVES.

I can say that there are plenty of people in the area set AGAINST it and like i said NONE of us have been told about any meetings that have been held and it should not only be up to land owners because we all own houses in the area and we will ALL be affected by it.

Posted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 1:15 pm
by Papa8
For anyone interested there has been a fairly recent article in the local papers:

See here for more:

Posted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 11:38 am
by Papa8
A little more news on the proposed airport.

Curiouser and curiouser. ...

Posted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 12:01 pm
by Papa8
Midlands 103 gave some airtime this morning to regional airport options in the Midlands. A lot of time was spent on the EIAB Longford option however a little report was given on the Horseleap one.

Patrick Little was not interviewed on the show so what follows is a summary by Midlands 103.

They stated that although ambitious it was hoped to have an airport operational by 2010/2011. The county manager was reluctant to meet with developers until the exact location is revealed. The IFA were mentioned as being involved and land negotiations of €40,000 per acre was the estimate value.

Peggy Nolan from Fine Gael Longford County Council believed that something like 32 landowners were needed for the Tubber option. She also mentioned that she believes the Taoiseach is backing the Tubber option due to it being in his backyard.

What a load of tosh

Posted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:05 pm
by DamnBusted
Now that El Celticus Tiger has been shot dead. This style of whymiscal fantasy should surely have a spade taken to it also.

FFS. Drive to Galway or Dublin. After some savage X Country driving this week the new N6 or whatever it is from Athlone across is excellent.

For the 4 people who live in Laois and Offally, use the N7.

Next they'll be on about Leitrim winning the Hurling All Ireland Final.


PS. Then again it's better than listening to the drivel that sprouts out of the radio's.

Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:46 am
by Papa8
DamnBusted wrote:FFS. Drive to Galway or Dublin. After some savage X Country driving this week the new N6 or whatever it is from Athlone across is excellent.

For the 4 people who live in Laois and Offally, use the N7.

Well one of those so called four people you talk about has the top job in the country.

I look at this from the point of view of population and tourism as they represent two major areas to measure potential (the third would be business travelers which I recognise is a significant percentage of customers using regional airports).

Roughly broken down using CSO 2006 and figures from failte ireland you get the following:

Leinster (1 International and 1 regional) Pop: 2.1 million
Tourists(2007): 2.2 million (Dublin, East Leinster and Midlands)

Ulster (1 regional) Pop: 0.25 million
Tourists(2007): 0.2 million (North-west)

Munster (2 Internationals and 1 regional) Pop: 1.1 million
Tourists(2007): 1.8 million (South-east, southwest and shannon)

Connaught (3 regionals) Pop: 0.46 million
Tourists(2007): 0.46 million

Looking at these figures I think another regional airport in Leinster is worth discussing at least. I can believe the argument that other regional airports are under pressure to remain viable but a regional airport in the midlands would have greater proximity to Dublin than the rest and could attract people wishing to travel to the UK for example. It has some potential to act as a second airport to Dublin with the new road network. I think regionals for short haul flights have some attraction in that you get processed quicker, parking is cheaper, they serve the local community and in this case could serve Dublin too.

Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 1:13 pm
by Papa8
Another article outlining the benefits of a midlands airport from the Irish Independent

Ambitious plan to build new airport in midlands

A NEW airport is planned for the midlands in the heart of Taoiseach Brian Cowen's constituency.

Midland Airport Development Ltd is proposing to build an airport in Co Offaly. If the ambitious plans go ahead, up to 1,000 jobs could be created in the region. Private developers are currently engaged in talks with the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) about the project.

A group of 35 landowners in the Tubber area of Co Offaly, just a few miles from Clara where the Taoiseach was born, have been approached by the developers and an "optional agreement" has been reached.

The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) entered talks with Midland Airport Development Ltd and it is understood an offer in the region of €40,000 per acre was made to landowners.

Talks are still at a "delicate stage". However, landowners in Tubber have said there is a lot of "goodwill" towards the project. A site opposite Tubber GAA grounds and running towards Horseleap has been earmarked for the development.

Architect and promoter of the airport, Patrick Little, said a study carried out by UK-based consultants confirmed that the concept of an airport in the midlands is "viable".

"Michael O'Leary has come out and publicly said there's not a hope in hell that it would happen but we're challenging that and hopefully he'll change his mind at some point in the future.

"We think it would have significant low-cost benefits. We're not looking at taking business away from Dublin Airport but we're looking at the way international practice is developing now where major airports would need a relief airport," he told the Irish Independent.

Mr Little has estimated that 1,000 jobs would be created during construction stages with a further 800 people employed at the facility in the long-term.


"Midland Airport Development Ltd hopes to avoid delays in the planning process by applying directly to An Bord Pleanala under a fast-track planning procedure for strategic infrastructure," he added.

"We will still work closely with the county council but the traditional timeframe would be shortened and if we took that into account work could commence within about two years."

Offaly county manager Pat Gallagher said the plans for an airport were "consistent" with the county development plan.

"A submission was made by a group in consultation about an airport somewhere between Clara and Moate," he said.

"We did advise the promoters to submit site location details for further discussions with our planning staff. We'd be happy to discuss it with them once we get those details," he added.
Eimear Ni Bhraonain
© Irish Independent 20.10.08

Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:23 am
by Atacama
Just registered here, with a very direct interest in this 'proposed' airport. I live very close to the site proposed in Tubber, and I can tell you there is a groundswell of opinion here against it. That may be as you might expect,NIMBY and all that, but if you saw the place you'd see why. Its a bog/marsh site mostly. There is poor infrastructure directly to it. There is no public sewerage facility. Getting power to the airport, from where? It is not even that near the big towns of Tullamore/Mullingar or Athlone, all at least 10 miles distant. The local farmers are no doubt happy, with 40,000 euro per acre the figure being touted, but from an enviromental,noise and simple practical point of view, it must be a non runner for this place. The fact that Cowan's Clara is a couple of miles away, must raise a few eyebrows also.Are we going back to the days of brown envelopes again?
We have Shannon, going down the tubes, an hour and a half distant, and yet they propose to slap a commercial airport, in the middle of a bog in Offaly?

There is a public meeting upcoming here, where all views will be 'aired' forgive the pun, but personally, I do think that this will ever get beyond the drawing boards. I'll keep you posted.

Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:54 pm
by Papa8
I imagine the distance from the towns has a little to do with the noise factor. Most regional airports are a fair distance from any urban areas for reasons of public safety, simplicity of building but also this site is to be centrally located between the towns. 10 miles or even 15 miles is no distance on a good road at 60mph really.

Shannon is an hour and a half distant perhaps but this midlands airfield would be less than that from Dublin and therefore could have a much bigger catchement area. Power to the airport and sewage waste must have been overcome before when other airports were built. How did they do it up in Knock for example?

Can't dispute your point about Clara except that unemployment in Laois and Offaly has been higher than average recently and when you think back other airports have been built in times/areas of unemployment.

In terms of the too many airports argument that is entirely dependent on how an airport is funded. If funding was purely private to build it then that is business and business looks at potential supply and demand. If it wasn't viable it wouldn't (hopefully!) be built. On the other hand pure government funding is our money and the public have every right to debate the usefulness of an infrastructural project. The greyer area is the PPP in terms of how many 'votes' each side gets.

By my reckoning there have been numerous plans for regional airports in the midlands including laois, westmeath, longford and now this one. It is not as if there is just one organisation in one county with this idea. There have been several suggestions for a second airport for Dublin also including Baldonnel and Gormanston but they so far have not been borne out. I realise that only the outlying areas of West Dublin, West Kildare and perhaps parts of Meath could be added to the local population that would reasonably use the airport but those are still significant numbers.

Living in Laois I could see even more viability of placing an airport on the M7 in Laois / Kildare but then again there is no current plans I have heard of wishing to pursue that.