The Taoiseach has formally opened a newly resurfaced runway at Ireland West Airport, in Co Mayo.
Leo Varadkar performed the ribbon cutting ceremony at the top of the 2,400 metre runway a short time ago.
Completed at a cost of €11.2 million, the overlay project was 75% funded by the State. Work was carried out by hundreds of construction personnel, with activity taking place at times when the runway was free of aviation traffic in recent months.
It is the first time the runway has been refurbished since the airport opened in 1985.
The Taoiseach joined local representatives and members of the airport staff for the ceremony.
After the runway was blessed by the Parish Priest of Knock, Fr Richard Gibbons, Mr Varadkar was presented with a bottle of holy water from the Marian Shrine. Fr Gibbons said he hoped it might prove useful during discussions with the British Prime Minister in New York next week.
Taoiseach presented with a bottle of holy water from Knock by Fr Richard Gibbons, who says it may provide a little help during talks with Boris Johnson in New York next week. pic.twitter.com/MjrzTH6sH0— Pat McGrath (@patmcgrath) September 20, 2019
Over 800,000 passengers are expected to travel through Ireland West Airport in 2019.
Mr Varadkar noted the contribution the airport makes to the local and regional economy. He said that the Government's commitment to the facility was "as strong as it ever was".