“The silence of Cork Government members and other public representatives during this whole debacle has been absolutely deafening. Their complete lack of courage and support during the past few months has now forced CAA to accept a debt that will hinder the future development of the airport and will inevitably lead to increased charges for all airport users. Will they now come out of hiding and explain to the people of Cork their decision to turn their backs on them?
“It is an extremely disappointing decision that has been taken by the CAA and is one which has been forced upon the Board by the Government. The promise made in 2004 by then Minister for Transport, Seamus Brennan, to deliver a debt-free, independent Cork Airport has been indisputably reneged on and once again Fianna Fáil and the Greens have failed Cork in their display of total political cowardice.
“This decision means that the land-bank at the airport may have to be sold off, putting the future development of the airport in serious jeopardy. Every gateway city needs a vibrant airport and lumbering Cork with such a massive debt will put it on the back foot from the word go. Given that we have no ferry service and an airport which is now laden with debt, the transport links to Cork are now tenuous to say the least.
“The acceptance of the Cassells’ Report placed an unfair burden on the CAA and left it in a no-win situation. I am calling for the report to be published in full and for the Board of the CAA to appear before the Oireachtas Transport Committee to explain its decision.
“I feel that the Board lacked courage and leadership in its decision to accept the recommendations. However I would like to commend the worker directors for their courage during this time.
“It is imperative that passengers to Cork Airport are not hit by an increase in charges. The temptation now is for the CAA to increase landing fees for carriers who in turn will pass these increases to the consumer. The CAA must resist this at all costs.”