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Cathal Duffy
By Liam Scollan
12, Oct 2009 - 19:10

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Cathal Duffy was one of the founding members of Ireland West Airport Knock in 1981, serving on the Board for 21 years and for 10 years as Chairman between 1992 and 2002. He was a hands-on Chairman, which meant he devoted a huge amount of his personal time and energy to the affairs of the airport. The airport is deeply grateful for this watchful care and concern over many years.

Cathal can be credited with keeping the finances of the airport under control and running it successfully and profitably at a time when there was very little aviation growth in the region. That on its own was an enormous achievement, because it was in those lean years that the Horan dream could have vanished under the sheer pressure of public scepticism and economic stagnation. It was a time when national policy hugely favoured the consolidation of aviation support into Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports under Aer Rianta. Cathal defiantly led the airport and established its ability to survive independently in those difficult years.

In the late nineties, he pioneered the attraction of the first inbound tourism routes from Germany and sun holiday flights to Spain, and above all managed to establish a good relationship with Ryanair which anchored the airport’s success in these years. He also dedicated himself hugely to win support and investment for the creation of a business park that would create more jobs for a region devastated by emigration. Those goals are still very much alive today.

In the early days, when there were many crises, Monsignor would often turn to Cathal Duffy and say “You had better go and see your friend Charlie”. This was a measure of the influence which Mr. Duffy had within Government.  Now we know Cathal has gone to see many more of his friends and we, on behalf of all those at the airport, wish to remember him dearly in our prayers and so too his wife, Philomena, and family at this time.

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