A GOVERNMENT TD has urged the public to have their say on the future of Cork Airport, which is the focus of a ministerial-ordered review.
Fine Gael’s Jerry Buttimer last night issued an open invitation to people to attend a special clinic at his constituency office next week to discuss the airport’s future ownership and operation.
He said he will pass any issues and ideas raised on to the consultants preparing a report for transport minister Leo Varadkar on the future ownership and operation of Cork and Shannon airports.
“It is important that we maximise local input in the process, ensuring local concerns are heard and listened to,” said Mr Buttimer.
Mr Varadkar announced the review last month and said the “halfway-house arrangement”, whereby Cork and Shannon have their own boards but limited autonomy from Dublin Airport Authority, “cannot continue indefinitely”.
He also said the situation whereby losses at Cork and Shannon are absorbed by the profitable parts of the DAA group cannot go on.
However, given the economic climate, separation of the three airports, as envisaged under the State Airports Act 2004, is seen as unlikely.
Mr Buttimer said he has an “open mind” on the future of Cork Airport, and on how the controversial debt issue — associated with the construction of its €100 million terminal and which is included within the group borrowings of the DAA — can be resolved.
But he said it is essential that its board has autonomy, and that the airport remains dynamic and able to attract business.
Booz & Company, the global management consulting firm, are due to report to the minister before the end of the year.
Mr Buttimer said it is vital that everyone with an interest in the future of Cork Airport is heard.
He urged members of the public, airport staff, business people and tourist interests to make their voices heard.
The clinic will take place in Mr Buttimer’s constituency office at 4A, Glasheen Road, Cork, on Monday, from 4pm to 6pm.
The report on the state airports will be conducted by Booz & Company associate Stuart McCully.
Mr McCully specialises in major commercial and public infrastructure projects, mostly within the transport sector.
He has advised investors in major infrastructure projects, as well as national and pan-national government agencies in Britain and Europe.
He previously worked as adviser for the department of treasury and finance in Victoria, Australia, where he was responsible for providing economic, financial and regulatory advice to senior departmental figures, the state treasurer and other government ministers on high-profile financial policy issues.
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