Support Charity Skydiving at Kilkenny Airfield sign now

​Skydive Ireland has raised over €2,000,000 EUR for Irish Charities. To ensure we continue raising much needed funds for charity we are seeking your support. 

Skydive Ireland purchased Kilkenny Airport in early 2014, in reliance of express assurances from Kilkenny County Council as to the Airports lawful planning status and that no planning enforcement will be taken for such use. 

Subsequently, and in defiance of its express assurances not to, the Council issued planning enforcement and is attempting to stop charity skydiving at the Airport, which raises tens of thousands of Euro for Irish Charities each year.

​The Company absolutely refutes the Councils allegations, and we have taken High Court action. The High Court has granted a stay on the Councils enforcement notice allowing for the lawful continuation of charity skydiving as normal in the interim.

​Airport Planning & Use History

Kilkenny Airport was established as a small, local airport in or about 1963. The establishment of the Airport appears to pre-date planning law (effective since 1 October 1964) and in any event, it benefits expressly from several planning permissions as an authorised Airport, (including airport buildings and runway extensions etc.) and it benefits from exempt development pursuant to the Planning Regulations. The Council have expressly supported the Airports continued development in the Kilkenny County Development Plan from 1994 up to 2020. Therefore, Kilkenny Airport is strictly, a fully authorised development and it is compliant in all respects with planning law. 

For over 52 years, since first becoming licensed by the Department of Transport in April 1965, the Airport has served all forms of general aviation, principally intensive sport aviation activities, in full compliance with planning laws. It is one of Ireland's longest established airfields and it predates the well-known Regional Airports of Waterford, Sligo, Donegal and Kerry.

​Council Involvement in Airport Development 

Records reveal that Kilkenny County Council financed the Airport's development and operating costs, using extensive tax-payer funds, from mid 1970 up to 2007. Elected Members of Kilkenny County Council held positions as directors of Kilkenny Airport Limited from around 1980 up to 2007. It was a long term objective of the Council to establish it as the South-East Regional Airport but this objective never materialised (which was awarded to the newer Waterford Airport). The Council and the South-East Tourism Board promoted the Airport using tax-payer money, as a local and tourist attraction for several decades.

​Notwithstanding that the Airport is a fully authorised development and the Councils extensive involvement and funding for more than 30 years, the Council's planning department, determined in December 2011, (in clear error) that the Airport has no planning permission whatsoever. It proceeded on this basis to issue planning enforcement against the relevant owners/operators at that material time. This was reported in the Kilkenny People (on the 22 Jan 2012 - Click Link).

​Skydive Ireland's Airport Ownership 2014

Prior to purchasing Kilkenny Airport in early 2014, Skydive Ireland engaged extensively with the Council to clarify and correct the Council's previous errors in respect of the Airports planning status.

The County Manager at the material time, Mr. Joe Crockett, fully accepted the errors previously made by the planning office and he expressly confirmed that the Airport is an authorised development and that no further planning enforcement will issue for such use.

The Company subsequently purchased the Airport in full reliance on the County Managers express representation. The Council were clearly and obviously aware that the Company intended on purchasing the Airport for our skydiving business, including charity skydiving. 

However, within weeks of the Company taking ownership of the Airport, the planning office made several references to An Bord Pleanála (still ongoing) and in its submissions to the Board, the Council vehemently oppose the Airport, in stark contrast, defiance and contradiction to the County Managers promises and assurances given to us prior to our purchase in 2014. 

​Despite the County Managers express promise in 2014 not to do so, the Council subsequently issued planning enforcement in May 2017, to cease charity skydiving at the Airport.

The Company absolutely refutes the Councils allegations and we say that it is bound by the express assurances and promise it made to the Company prior to our purchasing the Airport. The Company purchased Kilkenny Airport in 2014, for the express purpose of its skydiving activities (including charity skydiving), in full reliance of the County Managers express representations and assurances that the Airport is authorised and no enforcement will issue for our intended and normal airport uses.

​Charity skydiving at Kilkenny Airport raises tens of thousands of euro for Irish Charities each year.

​In fairness to Mr Crockett, the planning authority acted in defiance of his assurances only after he had retired in 2014 and it appears that he has played no role whatsoever in the planning authority's subsequent conduct. It remains unexplained by the Council, why its planning officials have made so many planning errors for Kilkenny Airport and why it is now acting in defiance of the express promises made to us. The current County Manager (CEO), Ms Collette Byrne, was appointed around July 2015 and has refused our request to meet and discuss this matter prior to us taking legal action.  

​Support Kilkenny Airport

Kilkenny Airport is a natural part of Kilkenny's heritage and it enjoys tremendous support from the local people of Kilkenny and further afield. The Airport has always brought domestic and international tourism to Kilkenny City which supports local business and employment. 

In August 2015, the Airport celebrated its 50th Anniversary of being licensed, with thousands of local families enjoying Kilkenny's Largest Air-Display, with world class aerobatics, model jets, and skydiving, and entry was free of charge for the public. 

People from all walks of life come to Kilkenny Airport to learn to fly, to skydive or just to have a family picnic and enjoy the flying activities. On a fine weather day, it is an ideal family day out and everyone is welcome.  

We expect to organise a Family Fun day at the Airport in September in support of the Airport. 

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David ByrnesBy:
SportIn:
Petition target:
Kilkenny County Council

Petition community:
Association & Company

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airport, charity fundraising, skydiving

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