Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe has ruled out any exchequer funding for the airport under the Government’s forthcoming National Aviation Policy.
Mr Sherlock said whether funding was secured from a direct subvention from the exchequer “is a question that possibly does not arise at this juncture. I believe strongly if we are to ensure balanced regional economic policy, that will require funding to market Cork Airport to develop new routes.”
“I anticipate that at some stage, either through the DAA separately or involving a stakeholder fund, some monies will have to be given to develop new routes or else we will see a very slow decline in activity levels at Cork Airport and that is not in anyone’s interest.”
Mr Sherlock, attached to Foreign Affairs, said he believes the best model would be for funding provided through organisations like Tourism Ireland and DAA.
“The uncertainty around Aer Lingus and IAG at present makes the need for a fund all the more urgent,” he said. “I do believe that the DAA has a certain obligation to work with other stakeholders to develop a proper marketing strategy to win new routes.”
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said he believed Cork Airport would benefit from an independent board. “My sense is that the DAA was quite quiet on this over the last 12 months. Because of political reasons they could not speak out too loudly about what was going on to the detriment of Cork.