Cassells Recommends Cork Pay Terminal Debts

Trouble-shooter and former trade union leader Peter Cassells has recommended that Cork Airport should pay a €100 million debt to end a dispute with Dublin Airport.

Mr Cassells had been asked to mediate in a row between Dublin Airport and Cork Airport over who should pay the €220m bill for the new terminal building at Cork Airport.

After breaking up Aer Rianta, the Government promised that Cork airport would be allowed to begin independent operations debt-free.

Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), however, refused to pay the cost of the Cork terminal and said it would not engage with Cork unless it agreed to pay at least €100m of the debt.

In his report, Mr Cassells recommends that in return for Cork Airport Authority (CAA) paying €113 million, the DAA should transfer ownership of land around the airport to the CAA, along with its stake in the Brooklyn business park. He also advised the DAA to make a payment of €10 million to the CAA to help it meet pension and other funding requirements.

Overall, Mr Cassells suggestions would see the CAA gain €220 million worth of assets while the DAA would reduce its debt by €113 million.

In a statement, Transport Minister Noel Dempsey urged the airports to accept the recommendations. He said: "Having considered them, I believe they represent a sensible solution, which I would urge both parties to accept as soon as possible."

The debt has been a major issue since the CAA was established in August 2004 and it is expected that the recommendations will not go down easy with the authority.

Both airports are currently "studying carefully" the report's findings.


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