CBA welcomes Lord Mayor’s call on US authorities to sanction Cork-US flights

The Lord Mayor of Cork has called on the US authorities to sanction transatlantic flights from Cork in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Councillor Des Cahill (FG) spoke last night as he revealed plans to meet with Cork Chamber and IDA Ireland, over the coming days, to ensure the region was poised to benefit from Brexit.

Mr Cahill said securing the proposed Cork-to-Boston flights and the deepening of Irish-US links were now more important than ever, given the UK’s decision, last week, to leave the EU.

“The Open Skies Agreement between the US and Europe must be honoured, now more than ever,” he said. “The agreement between the two continents is clear. The permission by the Americans is not only required, it is part of US/Europe policy.”

Two months after the US department of transportation flagged its intention to give a foreign-carrier permit to Norwegian’s Irish subsidiary, NAI, a final decision is still awaited.

Mr Cahill said that while Brexit was bad for Europe, it was an opportunity for Cork City to attract companies leaving the UK.

“Cork City has large sites, with planning permission, and developers ready-to-go, at Anderson’s Quay, South Terrace, Sullivan’s Quay, and in the docklands, along with some recently completed, premium-quality office blocks,” he said.

“Some of the world’s leading companies are already located in Cork, because they recognise the fantastic blend of talent coming out of our third-level institutions and the blend of lifestyle available on our doorstep.”

He said he would discuss with chamber representatives how they could, with the help of IDA Ireland, capitalise on the opportunities provided by Brexit.

There have been reports that several international banks, and large financial-services companies, based in the City of London have considered relocating to EU countries, including Ireland and Germany, in the wake of Brexit.

Mr Cahill said Cork should be prepared to capitalise. “We have a global reputation as a base for pharmaceuticals, biotech, tech and software industries,” he said.

“We have a strong financial-services presence here, too, with companies like Citco and Clearstream based here.

“So, it would not be a leap of faith for other big players to relocate here.”

CBA welcomes Transport Minister’s call for action on Cork-US flights

Transport Minister Shane Ross has called for the Taoiseach to make clear Ireland’s “dissatisfaction” with the US blockage of the air route between Cork and North America with US vice president Joe Biden.

The continued decision to delay the proposed air route has been described by Mr Ross as “puzzling”.

He said that while he is not meeting Mr Biden himself, he feels “an early decision to clear this blockage” should be sought by Mr Kenny this week.

Fine Gael Seanad leader, Jerry Buttimer, questioned Mr Ross yesterday in the Seanad over the delay in securing a North Atlantic route connecting Cork and the US.

Mr Buttimer claimed that the lack of movement on the issue is coming from an impasse on the US side.

The Cork-based senator said he hopes government officials will bring up the issue with Mr Biden during his six-day visit to Ireland.

He expressed his wish that “members of the Government will impress upon him the importance and centrality of this new route from Cork in promoting our country in North America”.

Last April, the US Department of Transportation granted a permit to Norwegian Air International to fly from Cork to the US, but the tentative decision has yet to be finalised and signed off on by Washington.

Mr Ross stated the delay is “clearly not in the interest of the many people on both sides of the Atlantic who had intended to avail of the new service.” He added he looks forward to the decision being confirmed “as soon as possible, so the airline can start operating the new route from Cork to Boston and other new transatlantic routes”.

The European Commission is also eager to see the Cork-US route go forward and has stated it would have the right to launch an arbitration process if the backlog continues, he said.

The blockage would fall under the remit of the EU-US Open Skies Agreement, Mr Ross told the Upper House.

The agreement allows for European airlines to operate flights from the EU to the US, and US airlines to run flights within the EU.

The European Commission supports the Norwegian airline securing a permit to fly from Cork, to ensure a more competitive transatlantic aviation market.

Mr Ross said he will try to push for a final decision on the matter: “I and the department will continue to liaise closely with the Irish embassy in Washington, the Irish Aviation Authority, and the European Commission, and we will continue to take the appropriate steps to help secure this important new service for Cork.”

CBA to host Cork City Centre Movement Strategy Information Evening

CBA are facilitating an Information Meeting to be held in the

Imperial Hotel, South Mall  (Rossmore Suite 1st Floor)

on Wednesday 29 June at 5.30 pm.

to discuss the Cork City Centre Movement Strategy Phases 1 & 2.

The objective of the Strategy is to improve the general vibrancy of Cork City Centre, to promote sustained economic growth, to deliver a much more attractive environment for shoppers, visitors and tourists and to help encourage  sustained inward investment.

We would advise all business owners/managers to attend this meeting to ensure they are fully informed and aware of how it might impact on their business. The meeting is open to members and non members.

Please rsvp your attendance to

CBA has an exciting programme of events lined-up for our June Feelgood Friday

After a hugely successful first month, Feelgood Friday is returning to Cork City again on 24 June.

This exciting initiative, led by Cork Business Association in conjunction with Cork City Council, sees retailers and businesses in the city centre come together to host a series of free events on the last Friday of every month.

Yet again, there will be a festival-like atmosphere in the city, with live music, free finger food, late openings, special offers, free drinks and lots of family fun.

Cork Midsummer Festival are bringing an explosion of arts events to the banks of the Lee.  Red FM will be patrolling the streets and will have lots of goodies to give away.  Not only that, but there will be FREE parking from 6.30pm to 9pm in North Main Street Car Park.

One of the highlights of this month’s event is a fun penalty shoot-out in aid of Cork Cancer Research Centre on Grand Parade where you can test your skills against teams from Cork City FC and Red FM.

Commenting on the success of Feelgood Friday to date, Lawrence Owens, Chief Executive of Cork Business Association, said, “We were blown away by the support for the first Feelgood Friday and hope now to build on that success.  Cork City is a really unique shopping destination.  Everything is within walking distance and it’s a lively and family friendly place to shop, dine and meet.  The idea behind Feelgood Fridays is to reintroduce shoppers in Cork to the fun of shopping in the heart of their City.  The last Friday of the month also coincides with pay day for many, so people want something to do on that day – and we’re hoping Cork City will be top of mind!  We are encouraging businesses across our wonderful city to make an extra special effort for their customers for this month’s Feelgood Friday, so come along and experience Cork at its best”

For the full programme of events go to, follow us on twitter @FeelgoodCork or like us on Facebook.

CBA looks forward to Cork Bike Week 2016

Cork Bike Week returns to Cork from Saturday 11th until Sunday 19th June 2016. This year promises to include an ever diverse range of cycling activities for people of all ages and abilities to take part in!

Cork Bike Week is an integral part of the overall National Bike Week initiative and is organised by a multi agency group comprised of the Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Cork Sports Partnership, HSE South-Health Promotion Department, Cork Cycling Campaign, Cork Environmental Forum, UCC and An Taisce.

National Bike Week was launched in 2009 to raise the profile of cycling as a healthy and fun mode of transport and physical activity. See for event details and for events happening in your area. GET ON YOUR BIKE FOR BIKE WEEK 2016!!

CBA enjoys Imperial Hotel’s 200th birthday celebrations

Actors dressed in period costume with wolfhounds at their sides greeted guests at a special bash last night to celebrate the 200th birthday of one of the country’s best known hotels.

More than 70 guests from the world of business, entertainment, and the media were invited to the function last night at the Imperial Hotel, Cork, also affectionately known as the Grand Dame of the city.

To commemorate the bicentenary the O’Flynn family-owned hotel has undergone a €1m-plus makeover, which included upgrading many of the 125 bedrooms while creating a new bar, Seventy Six on the Mall, and gym, Escape.

The Imperial has a rich history. Designed by Thomas Deane in 1813, it was initially used as commercial rooms for city merchants. Three years later, the building was extended to serve as a hotel and coach yard for the visiting business people, traders and merchants.

Over its history, the hotel has had several famous guests including the writers Sir Walter Scott, William Makepeace Thackeray, and Charles Dickens.

Michael Collins stayed at the Imperial in room 115 the night before he was shot dead by Anti-Treaty forces at at Béal na Bláth.

Yesterday, members of UCC’s Drama Group dressed as butter merchants and acted out scenes from the period, when traders once used the Imperial Hotel as commercial rooms to trade in butter.

Guests on the night includes Myrtle Allen of Ballymaloe fame, who attended with her daughter, Fern, and son-in-law, Eoin Little.

The gathering also included Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Chris O’Leary, Miss Cork Orla Clancy, UCC president Michael Murphy, and Cork Chamber chief executive Conor Healy.

Upon arrival last night, guests were treated to treats in Lafayette’s Brasserie before being brought on a guided tour of the property.

Later, they enjoyed a drinks reception in the new bar before sitting down to a dinner prepared by the Imperial’s new chef, Nicky Foley.

The food was a spectacular affair and featured such dishes as Ballycotton crab, wild turbot, Angus beef, and butter merchants’ brown bread ice cream.

Later, guests enjoyed music by Cork-based tenor Ryan Morgan before retiring to the bar for a night cap and more music.

CBA welcomes joint Taste of Cork strategy

Up to €2m will be invested in about 100 indigenous food businesses in Cork over the next three years as part of an ambitious joint city and county council strategy that aims to make the region the food capital of Ireland.

Details of the new Taste Cork initiative — which aims to promote food tourism and create a thriving food network in the region by linking and promoting producers, retailers, food service operators, and distributors — were unveiled at County Hall yesterday.

The strategy is the result of one of the largest collaborations of its kind between the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) in Cork, and the city and county councils.

It is hoped the five-year plan will enhance partnerships between key players in the region’s food sector and help promote its food production ecosystem. Since 2014, Cork’s LEOs have sanctioned over €1m in funding to help some 50 start-ups and established food companies, and helped deliver mentoring and training.

More than 200 jobs have been created by clients of Cork LEOs who participated in the Food Academy programme . Under Taste Cork, the LEOs plan to provide a further €2m in funding to 100 more food businesses, continue the mentoring and training, and ramp up their involvement in the Food Academy.

In a joint statement, Tim Lucey, chief executive of Cork County Council, and Ann Doherty, chief executive of Cork City Council, said they were delighted to be involved in a joint approach to the strategy.

“The food sector’s significant contribution to the local economy means that the need for an integrated food strategy is vital to nurture and sustain the development of local SME food and drink businesses,” they said.

“Ireland’s agri-food sector is positioned at the forefront of the country’s economic growth so there has never been a better time to act and embrace our region’s strengths.

“Throughout Cork, a diverse selection of food training and food marketing initiatives are under way and now, through the Taste Cork brand, these programmes can enjoy better linkages and cross-promotion.”

Taste Cork’s Rebecca O’Keeffe said research shows almost 70% of consumers feel it is very important to buy local produce. “An important part of the strategy is the formation of a comprehensive directory of food producers and related businesses which Taste Cork is developing and which will also be of interest to not only the population of Cork but also to the 2.3m visitors to the county each year.”

CBA congratulates those honoured by Lord Mayor at Civic Awards ceremony

Three champions of Cork City’s poor and homeless were among those honoured with civic awards last night.

The head of the Irish Naval Service also accepted one of Lord Mayor Cllr Chris O’Leary’s six civic awards on behalf of the navy in recognition of its role in the Mediterranean humanitarian missions.

Mr O’Leary said all six nominees had shown great leadership and are role models worthy of their awards. He said he was particularly pleased to honour three people who selflessly are on the frontline in fighting homelessness and poverty.

“The awards mark the high calibre of those who play an important part of the civic life in the city,” he said.

“It is always difficult to choose one over another because of the quality of the contributions made by individuals and groups, and this year’s recipients maintain the standard of the awards at the highest level.”

The comments came as he honoured the city’s finest community volunteers and groups at the 12th annual Lord Mayor’s Civic and Community and Voluntary Awards ceremony in City Hall.

St Vincent de Paul campaigner Brendan Dempsey was honoured for his lifelong commitment to tackling poverty in the city, and for his work in recent years on the development of the Bia Food Initiative.

Cork Simon chief executive Dermot Kavanagh was honoured for his commitment to tackling homelessness and developing services for the homeless in Cork.

Caitríona Twomey, the driving force behind Cork Penny Dinners which is feeding more than 1,200 a week, was honoured for her work on behalf of the needy.

The other civic award winners included business leader and restaurateur Claire Nash, who runs Nash 19 on Prince’s St. She was recognised for her long-term contribution to developing and improving the city’s business environment.

Flag Officer Commanding of the Naval Service, Commodore Hugh Tully, was presented with an award in recognition of the Cork-based Naval Service’s contribution to the humanitarian missions in the Med, which have saved the lives of almost 10,000 people.

Maurice Dineen was honoured with a civic award for his work in the Ballyphehane area. He founded Club Ceoil Ballyphehane about seven years ago; it now hosts 120 children at trad classes every summer. He founded a karate club last year, and also found time to study youth and community work at University College Cork.

Mr O’Leary also presented community and voluntary awards to the Cork Deaf Folks Group, the Coal Quay Shawlies, to the Blarney Street and Surrounding Areas Community Association, to Shine a Light Suicide and Mental Health Awareness Group, and to the Masquerade Ball Rainbow Club. The overall winner was Childline Cork.

The awards, presented by Cork City Council, are sponsored by the Evening Echo.

Cork Airport sees bumper start to summer as passenger numbers soar


Ø  Passenger Numbers Up 9.6% in May

Ø  Passenger Numbers Up 8.4% Year to date

Ø  All Markets Up (Northern Europe, UK Provincial, London and Southern Europe)

Ø  Upward Trend Predicted To Continue Throughout The Rest Of the Year

Passenger numbers at Cork Airport are continuing on an upward trend with latest statistics released by management showing further growth of 9.6% in May compared with the same month last year. Year to date passenger numbers at Ireland’s biggest and busiest international airport outside Dublin are up 8.4%. Growth is projected to continue through the summer months into the autumn as Cork Airport benefits from additional traffic on new summer services including Dusseldorf with Aer Lingus, Madrid with Iberia Express, Leeds and Southampton with Aer Lingus Regional among new summer services this year.

Niall MacCarthy, Managing Director at Cork Airport said: “I’m delighted with the growth figures for May and year to date, which confirm we’ve had 65,000 additional passengers so far in 2016 versus the same period last year. Based on anticipated bookings and capacity looking ahead, we are forecasting total passenger numbers of 2.25 million people travelling through Cork Airport this year. This will be an increase of 8% over 2015 numbers.”

Passenger numbers are up across all markets, with a 15.5% increase on routes to and from Southern Europe; London routes are up 10.2%, UK Provincial routes are up 5.0% and Northern European routes up 2.2%.

Kevin Cullinane, Head of Communications, Cork Airport said: “It’s visibly busier. We have more new routes this summer than last, greater frequencies and passengers are voting with their feet to fly from Munster’s friendliest and most connected international airport. We see it every morning from 4:00 a.m. once the overnighting aircraft get ready to depart. Our first departure is at 6:00 a.m. and it is noticeably busier through the early morning wave of departures.  We’re seeing more flights and more passengers. These are positive indicators of a very busy summer season ahead at Cork Airport.”

CBA welcomes Transport Minister’s support of Cork-US flights

The Transport Minister has urged the US authorities to put consumers first and clear the first Cork to US flights for take-off.

In his first public comment on Norwegian airline’s stalled licence application, Minister Shane Ross told global aviation leaders yesterday that the unprecedented delay by the US Department of Transportation (DoT) in granting the permit was not in the interests of the travelling public.

He told CEOs of some of the world’s largest airlines attending the AGM of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the World Air Transport Summit in Dublin that he has always been pro-consumer and pro-competition and that the liberalisation of the aviation sector since the 1970s has allowed increased competition and several new airlines to enter the market, providing customers with new routes, new and better services and lower fares.

But he told the airline bosses, whose airlines carry 83% of passengers worldwide, that customers’ needs should not get lost in the complex policy-making process at national and international level.

“From my perspective the needs of the customer should always be at the heart of aviation policy making; whether it be their safety, security, service or economic needs,” he said.

But he said it is apparent that there are “interests on both sides of the Atlantic” that would like to reverse the liberalisation process.

Referring to Norwegian’s Irish subsidiary, Norwegian Air International (NAI) stalled bid to secure a US DoT permit to operate its planned Cork to Boston and Cork to New York flights, he said it was unfortunate that it has fallen victim to the wider global debate.

“To my knowledge this is the first time since the EU-US Open Skies Agreement came into force in 2008, that an airline has announced new transatlantic services to the travelling public, but has been unable to operate the services due to delayed Government approval,” he said.

“Clearly this is not in the interests of the many people in the Cork and Boston regions that are looking forward to using the new service.

“I look forward to the US authorities confirming its tentative decision to grant a permit to the Irish airline as soon as possible.”

Cork Airport welcomed the minister’s comments. A spokesperson for the US DoT said they are reviewing the entire record and giving careful consideration to the matters raised before reaching a final decision.

“There is no timeline for the department’s final decision and it must first clear ‘presidential’ review,” she said.