Minister Hildegarde Naughton

  • Government funding of €1.35 million has been allocated this morning for Ireland West Airport Knock.

    The grant aid will go towards the operating costs of the airport - under the Regional Airports Programme, and is targeted at safety and security operations, such as air traffic control, fire services and security.

    Speaking to Midwest News this morning, the Minister of State for Transport Hildegarde Naughton acknowledged that this €1.35 million is part of the funding announced in the Budget for the Regional Airports Programme.

  • Towns across Co Mayo are to benefit from funding of over half a million euro for additional outdoor infrastructure, as Ireland gears up for an Outdoor Summer, due to Covid-19 restrictions.

    Minister of State at the Department of Transport Hildegarde Naughton has announced €516,000 for 11 projects across Co Mayo, following applications from Mayo County Council under the "Additional Outdoor Infrastructure Fund".

    Projects include creating more space for outdoor dining, providing picnic tables and benches, protective wind breakers, signage, and providing seating and flower planters in a number of towns and villages.


    The funding includes €80,000 for providing parklets in Westport, Louisburg, Newport, Belmullet and various other villages to facilitate casual picnics and socialising, with picnic tables and bences, hedge planting, non-slip decking and planting.

    In Castlebar, €100,000 goes to a public realm improvement project on Spencer Street, which will create a one-way traffic system with pedestrian crossings, and eliminate one traffic lane to create more pedestrian space and greater opportunities for outdoor dining.

    €85,000 has been allocated for public realm safety improvement works in Westport town centre.

    In Ballyhaunis, there's €20,000 to replace damaged bollards in the Square, and provide additional bollards to allow the area to used as a pedestrian zone to facilitate seating, outdoor dining and street markets.

    in Foxford, a portion of the Main Street will be redesigned to remove heavy goods vehicles from the street and allocate more pedestrian space.

    In Kilkelly, €25,000 has been allocated for works at the Square, involving decluttering to allow better use of the public space for outdoor seating, and introducing a low perimiter railing at the park to make the area safer for families to use.

    €15,000 goes to Kiltimagh, where a small portion of the small square will be reallocated for outdoor dining for the adjacent hotel and restaurants.

    €40,000 has been allocated for Bohola, as a first step towards creating a village centre, where some of the existing road space will be reallocated to pedesitrans.

    And €90,000 goes towards providing benches, seating, flower planters and bins for all towns and villages within the Municipal District  - with €7,000 each for Ballyhaunis, Claremorris, Ballinrobe and Swinford,  €3,500 each for Foxford, Kiltimagh, Charlestown and Knock, €3,000 each for Kilmaine, Cong, Bohols, Kilkelly, Ballindine, Irishtown and Shrule, and €2,500 each for Hollymount, the Neale, Cross, Kilmovee, Tooreen, Bekan, Brickens, Mayo Abbey, Carracastle and Aghamore.



  • A further extension to the expiry dates of driving licences has been announced today by Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton.

    The Minister says the move comes as the EU and national Governments take steps in response to the disruption caused by Covid-19 to driver licensing services across the EU.

    Minister Naughton says today’s extension to driving licences will address the concerns that drivers have in renewing their licences. 

    She is strongly encouraging drivers to check the new expiry date of their driving licence by using the expiry date calculator on

    Anyone who receives the licence extension will not be sent out a new licence. The Road Safety Authority (RSA) which manages the NDLS will automatically update driver records to show the new expiry date. 

    A letter will then be sent to every customer who is entitled to the extension, explaining that the expiry date of their licence is being extended. The RSA has also told Insurance Ireland and An Garda Síochána about the new expiry date of driving licences.

    Minister Naughton gave more details to Midwest News today


  • Hauliers boarding a ferry to France are required to have a negative Covid-19 test from today.

    It's after the French government introduced new requirements for entry into the country.

    Antigen testing centres have been set up at Dublin Airport and Gorey in Wexford, with others to follow.

    Truck drivers fear the requirement could result in missing ferry sailings.

    However, Junior Transport Minister Hildegarde Naughton, says pre-booking a test will avoid difficulties.




    The new Regional Airports Programme for the period 2021 to 2025 has been published today by the Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton.

    This year, Ireland West Airport Knock, Donegal and Kerry airports are eligible to apply for funding under the programme, which has a budget of €21.3 million in 2021.

    The focus of the programme is to help Ireland’s smallest airports, those that handle less than 1 million annual passengers, to maintain regulatory compliance in the areas of safety and security. 

    Galway-based Minister Naughton has been giving more details to Midwest News...

  • The difficulties and challenges facing regional airports are being discussed at today's meeting of the Oireachtas Transport Committee.

    Representatives from Ireland West Airport Knock, Kerry and Donegal airports are outlining the devastating impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on their facilities since last March.

    Ireland West Airport Knock is facing losses of €4 million this year, while passenger numbers plummeted.

    The airport is closing this weekend for a month, as Ryanair has suspended flights from all regional airports until mid-December.

    However, there was some good news yesterday, when Government announced an extra €48 million  in supports for next year, in addition to the funding announced in the Budget, bringing the support package for the aviation industry to €80 million.

    Minister of State at the Department of Transport Hildegarde Naughton will outline on the Midwest Radio lunchtime news how the additional funding for regional airports will beneift Knock Airport at this unprecedented time for the aviation industry....

  • France says it's working to try to end restrictions on hauliers crossing the English Channel - after they were barred due to fears of a new coronavirus strain.

    Lorries are parked up at ports in England, and it's believed up to 250 Irish hauliers, some from this region,  are there.

    The Department of Foreign Affairs has launched a helpline for people who need to travel to Ireland from Britain.

    Minister of State for International Road Transport and Logistics, Hildegarde Naughton, says it's a serious situation.

  • The construction of a new STEM building at the Galway campus of GMIT is set to go to tender early next year.

    The project received the go-ahead today as part of a Government initiative aimed at creating space for 8,000 additional students in 11 colleges across the country.

    The state of the art Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths building will be located on the eastern side of the Galway campus, facing the Ballybane Road, and will include research labs, seminar rooms, classrooms and lecture theatres.

    Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton says the development will be a massive boost for GMIT and the broader region.

    The new building is expected to go to tender early next year.


  • Plans for a new elective hospital in Galway to serve western counties are being progressed, according to Galway- based Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton

    Speaking after a meeting yesterday  with the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, representatives from the HSE and the Saolta Hospital Group and public representatives from across the region, it was confirmed that a preliminary business case for the project would be submitted in the next few weeks.

    Both the Clinical Director of the Saolta Group,  Dr. Pat Nash, and its CEO, Tony Canavan, also addressed the meeting.

    The long waiting lists for elective surgery in the West of Ireland, such as hip replacements and cataracts, with many patients waiting more than a year for surgery in University Hospital Galway, makes the delivery of the new Elective Hospital  urgent, according to Minister Naughton, who told Midwest News that the hospital will be developed on the site of Merlin Park hospital in Galway.