Irish Minister of Transport Leo Varadkar’s disappointing answer to the handover was ‘It is not the practice in the Republic of Ireland to name our airports after people and I don’t have any plans to change this”. Furthermore, “it might be worth considering auctioning the naming rights to a campaign or company but I have not given that much thought”. (letter below)
Ms Brigitte Lehmann,RE: CORK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
I refer to your letter dated 19 October 2011, and enclosure, in relation to the above.
Rory Gallagher was a fine musician and artist and the people of Cork are justly proud of his association with the city.
It is not the practice in the Republic of Ireland to name our airports after people and I don’t have any plans to change this. Moreover, there are other suggestions including a campaign to name Dublin airport after Sean Lemass or James Joyce and Cork airport after Michael Collins.
As you may be aware, Cork airport is loss making and heavily in debt. My priority is to ensure that the airport survives the recession and that jobs and connectivity is protected. In this context, it might be worth considering auctioning the naming rights to a campaign or company but I have not given that much thought.
_________________________ Leo Varadkar, T.D.,
Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport.
Meeting with Irish MEP Seán Kelly
In December 2011, I had a meeting with Irish MEP Seán Kelly at the European Parliament in Brussels, which went extremely well. MEP Kelly spent almost one hour of his precious time, listened with great interest to my briefing and kindly accepted the printout of the handover file with 6,230 signatures.
The Booz Report
Meanwhile, Minister Leo Varadkar had commissioned a study to help him to decide the future ownership of Cork and Shannon Airports to Booz & Co. in London, for which his department paid €119,350. The consultancy firm delivered its report to Mr Varadkar in December 2011.
The Booz Report was published on 29th February 2012 and said that Cork Airport should remain within the DAA, although with greater autonomy due to the debts associated with it. Mr Varadkar confirmed in May 2012 that he was “spinning” Shannon out from the DAA and needed more time to consider Cork’s position.
In May 2012, Transport and Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar confirmed that Shannon Airport will be separated from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) but Cork Airport will remain under Dublin management and the DAA is set to be renamed to reflect this.
On 31st December 2012, Shannon Airport became a publicly owned commercial airport and is now operated and run by the Shannon Airport Authority plc.
Despite the fact that Irish Transport Minister Leo Varadkar obviously had no plans to rename Cork Airport… the petition continued. A target of 10.000 signatures was set and was reached in January 2014.
In fact, the Status of 10.007 Signatures was reached on 28th January 2014.
In April 2014, I sent out a new Press Release to the Members of the Irish Press.
The campaign to Rename Cork Airport drew again a lot of attention in Ireland. Several articles were published and I gave a couple of radio interviews.
- 28th April 2014 – “Campaign to name Cork Airport after Rory Gallagher gathers pace” http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/campaign-to-name-cork-airport-after-rory-gallagher-gathers-pace-1.1776645
- 29th April 2014 “Do you think Cork Airport should be renamed after Rory Gallagher?” http://www.thejournal.ie/petition-to-rename-cork-airport-after-rory-gallagher-gains-over-8000-signatures-662356-Nov2012/
- 29th April 2014 – “Let our Rory join jet set” http://www.eveningecho.ie/2014/04/29/let-rory-join-jetset/
- 29th April 2014 – “Rory Gallagher would be honoured by Cork Airport tribute, says Brother” http://www.irishpost.co.uk/news/rory-would-be-honoured-by-cork-airport-tribute-says-donal-gallagher
On 6th May 2014, I travelled again from Brussels to Cork and tried to speak to some of the politicians in view of the upcoming local elections; unfortunately without any success.
The local elections were held on 23rd May 2014, which resulted in a reshuffle of the Irish Cabinet. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_local_elections,_2014
Leo Varadkar (FG) has been Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sports as from March 2011 to July 2014 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Varadkar
Paschal Donohoe (FG) became Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sports as from 11th July 2014 - http://paschaldonohoe.ie/
Cork Airport is still under the control of Dublin Airport Authority
Cork Airport has seen its traffic fall by 5%, or about 77,000 passengers in 2014. In the almost exactly eight years since the fanfare of the first passengers travelling through Cork’s new terminal, commentators have frequently referenced not only the repayment of the €113m cost of the terminal but also the continued control of the airport by the Dublin Airport Authority, as reasons for the stifling of growth in Cork.
Brigitte ‘Bibi’ Lehmann
Brussels, November 2014
Video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?hl=en-GB&v=omejc2GgC-Y
Rory Gallagher Video Page: http://www.facebook.com/RoryGallagherVideoPage