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Ocallaghans wings clipped airport not to be renamed

Thursday, 11th July, 2013 3:00am

While a vote to rename Cork Airport failed to take off in spectacular fashion, the debate on naming facilities has been given a tiny pair of wings, courtesy of the Fine Gael whip, Cllr Joe O'Callaghan.

Despite other councilors from his own party and opposition saying that the issue was not of importance, Mr O'Callaghan forced the issue to a vote, which ultimately failed to pass.

“It is an item of consideration and it costs nothing,” said Mr O'Callaghan.

“It is a trend in America and in parts of the United Kingdom. Look at our friends in Belfast who named their airport after George Best. Any child knows the feats of Christy Ring, and he is known across all sports. I know the minister (Leo Varadkar) is against this process but sometimes we can't always do what Dublin tells us.”

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy supported the idea of renaming the airport  and  suggested it could form part of a larger municipal project along the lines of Dublin City Council which recently held a competition to whittle down names.

Many councillors highlighted that the airport was not within the jurisdiction of the City Council, as it lay within the county boundaries, and that the Dublin  Airport  Authority  would also have a lot to say on the issue.

“We would be better off reinstating the Dublin-Cork flight and naming that the Christy Ring flight,” said Fianna Fáil Cllr Terry Shannon while Cllr Des Cahill suggested taking away the statue of the Glen Rovers hurler if the DAA said no.

No power

“We don't have the power to do this,” said Sinn Féin Cllr Chris O'Leary.

“There's lots of good people out there that deserve a mention or honoured with a statue too but I really think at times this kind of motion should be for the sin bin.”

Fine Gael Cllr John Buttimer rejected the idea, saying that the city was trying to market itself as a destination and that the name of the airport was crucial to that.

“What we need to be doing is put the pressure on the DAA to restore the Dublin to Cork flight and also look at the need for us to have transatlantic flights."

The vote was rejected by 18 votes to 10. Other suggestions for names for Cork  Airport  on the Cork Independent Facebook page included Rory Gallagher, Michael Collins, Roy Keane, Tanora, Barry's Tea, Fr James Christopher O'Flynn and Sean Óg Ó hAilpín. One cheeky commentator suggested renaming it Ken O'Flynn Airport after the northside councillor, however most believed it should remain Cork Airport. One commentator suggested that the naming rights should be sold and the money every year put to fixing the roads in the city and county.

A spokesperson for Cork Airport commented: "It is the prerogative of the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to give any consideration to re-naming Cork Airport".

“Cork Airport are engaged in on-going discussions with airlines that have the capability and aircraft availability to operate such a service. While those discussions are under way, no airline has yet made a commercial decision to re-commence the service. We are making the strongest possible business case for its restoration.”

The Department of Transport admitted that the Minister regularly receives requests to name airports after notable figures "including Rory Gallagher and Michael Collins in the case of Cork".

"He doesn't support naming the State's airports after anyone," said a spokesperson.

"There is no consensus in favour of any one figure and he doesn't think passengers should have to carry the cost of the new signage, rebranding etc. which could run to several million. The Minister would welcome the resumption of air services between Dublin and Cork. It would be particularly beneficial to people trying to catch connecting flights, but like all flights from Cork and Dublin, you need an airline that is willing to take the commercial risk of the service failing due to poor passenger numbers. EU law does not permit such a flight to be subsidised.”

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