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Local TDs join calls to save airport

Monday, 8th December, 2014 11:50am
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A NUMBER of Cork deputies have expressed their concerns regarding the future of Cork Airport.

Their comments follow last week’s front page story in The Southern Star, outlining how concerned local woman, Siobhan McCarthy, had set up the Save Cork Airport page.

Ms McCarthy who lives in Bishopstown, but whose parents are from Beara, said her fears were further confirmed by the recent reduction in routes from the airport.

The airport lost its flights to Lisbon, Brussels and Nice recently and Ryanair has shifted its Lithuania flights to Shannon.

Last week Fianna Fáil Cork North-Central TD, Billy Kelleher, slammed what he described as ‘the Government’s total inaction on securing the future of Cork Airport’ at a time when independent Shannon Airport is seeing continuous passenger growth. Cork Airport has seen its passenger numbers fall by almost 40% in the past 6 years, he said. And he added that ‘2014 has been a particularly bad year for Cork Airport, but it appears 2015 will be worse.’

‘To be frank,’ he added, ‘it appears to me as if this Government is allowing Cork Airport to die on its feet. I find this appalling, especially given the fact that one of the most senior Ministers in cabinet, Simon Coveney is the Dáil representative for the constituency where Cork Airport is. At one point it was even suggested by a Government agency that Cork Airport would lose its 24 hour status, further undermining its business potential.”

Meanwhile, Labour TD Michael McCarthy questioned the decision behind Aer Lingus' move to suspend two routes from its summer 2015 schedule.

‘I would like to see a defined strategy for what is one of the most important elements of the region's infrastructure,’ he said, adding: ‘Cork airport plays a vital role in the attractiveness of the largest city region in the south of the country for both tourism and foreign direct investment. Tourism and business must get every chance to develop equitably throughout the country.’

Sinn Fein’s Jonathan O’Brien said this week that his request for a debate on the issue in the Dail was refused. And he told Siobhan McCarthy: ‘I share your concerns regarding the reduction in services at Cork Airport and will continue to raise this matter with the Minister at every available opportunity.’

Speaking in the Dail last week, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said that the DAA was the body charged with statutory responsibility to manage, operate and develop Dublin and Cork Airports. ‘In these circumstances, responsibility for addressing the fall in passenger numbers and the viability of the airport is a matter for DAA and Cork Airport management, and is not a matter in which I have a direct role.’

Cork Airport