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Record 36.5 million passengers travelled through Irish airports in 2018

The country's airports are busier than ever with a record 36.5 million passengers passing through last year.

Numbers rose at the five main airports - Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Knock and Kerry - and despite a downturn at Connemara and Inishmore, the total was up 6% on 2017.

Passengers from Britain made up the biggest single group with just over 13m passing through Irish airports on flights to or from the UK.

Spain accounted for just over 4.3m passenger journeys, the USA and Canada for just under 4.3m, Germany for 2.5m and France for 2m.

Business is still heavily concentrated in Dublin which handled 31.3m passengers compared to Cork's 2.38m, Shannon's 1.67m, 775,063 through Knock and 365,339 through Kerry. Kerry Airport enjoyed the biggest growth at 8.9%.

Activity at Donegal was static at 46,537 passengers while Connemara saw a fall of 6.8% to 15,322 and Inishmore fell 5.6% to 8,814.

Dublin is preparing for further growth to 45m passengers over the next 10-15 years and has recently begun work on a second runway due to open in 2021.

The growth in flights is widely seen as a positive sign for the economy but it is set to cause extra problems as industry and the country come under increased pressure to dramatically cut carbon emissions.