Reporter Jim Fahy is unprepared for the sight that greets him at the top of a hill outside Charlestown in County Mayo where excavations an airport are in full swing.

The plans, for what could become a busy international airport, are the brainchild of Monsignor James Horan. He is not sure if the airport has planning permission, but he is ploughing ahead regardless.

We’re building an airport, and I hope the Department of Transport doesn’t hear about it, now don’t tell them, and we’re going to have it built in a very, very short time...and we have no money, although we’re hoping to get it next week, or the week after.

An incredulous Jim Fahy suggests the Monsignor is bluffing, but he insists he is sincere in his endeavours. Connacht needs an airport and it would help tackle unemployment in the region. A team of international aviation experts has recommended the building of such an airport for Connacht, but not exactly in such an unorthodox manner.

It is being built on 500 acres of land, which the people behind the venture don’t own, although they do have an option on it, with money they don’t have, although they do have some promises and without any real permission except outline planning permission.

Airport design consultant Jim Ryan has been enlisted to work on the airport and he outlines his plans which he believes will bring Connacht into the 1980s.

An ‘Ireland’s Eye’ report broadcast on 18 February 1981. The reporter is Jim Fahy.