That setback was exacerbated when Agriculture Minister and airport area representative Simon Coveney said a deal to resolve the airport’s debt crisis is not being contemplated.
This sorry saga, rooted in a promise broken by a previous, Fianna Fáil-led government, has hamstrung the airport and made it almost commercially impossible for it to sustain services, much less expand. At this stage, the impasse suggests a long, slow and painful decline, one that seems as if it might be ever more difficult to reverse.
That at least seven applications to the EU’s €315bn Junker fund were made on behalf of Shannon airport but none for Cork suggests wilful neglect or that a profound long-term decision has been taken but not announced.
Some of the south’s primary employers are not Irish and no matter how willing or effective the local workforce is, it is hard to imagine that the airport’s decline will build the kind of security these jobs depend on.
Developer Owen O’Callaghan has suggested the boundaries of Cork City be extended, and it may just be possible the crisis could be resolved by more powerful local authorities because it is obvious that the Government has washed its hands of this issue and is happy to leave Cork airport face an unenviable fate forced on it by official double dealing.