A proposal to rename Dublin Airport after former taoiseach Seán Lemass will be considered in the autumn, the Sunday Tribune has learned.
Transport minister Noel Dempsey is likely to bring the proposal to cabinet after the summer break. The proposed name change to Seán Lemass Airport Dublin would be done in the context of the opening of the new Terminal II in November.
Dempsey stressed this weekend that no final decision had been made and it was a matter for government, but he personally thought that calling Dublin Airport after Lemass would be "very appropriate".
Lemass's record "speaks for itself", he said. "He is regarded as the architect of modern Ireland. The new airport terminal just completed looks fantastic and extremely modern and is the epitome of all Seán Lemass worked for," Dempsey said.
Asked if he was concerned that the move to name the airport after a Fianna Fáil taoiseach would be regarded as tribal and politically divisive, the minister said he had often heard members of the opposition talking about and quoting Lemass and his achievements.
"He was not a tribal figure in the same way as other political leaders of Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael. I don't see it being a major problem," he said.
The naming of the airport is a matter for government as the shareholder in the Dublin Airport Authority. But it would seek the advice of the DAA and the Irish Aviation Authority to ensure that the new name did not cause any difficulties for international air-traffic control. However, this is not expected to present any major difficulties.
Lemass led the country from 1959 to 1966 and is often described as the state's best taoiseach. He was also responsible for establishing Aer Lingus in 1936.
Dempsey's move to bring the issue to cabinet follows a four-year campaign by former Aer Lingus employee and Fianna Fáil activist Tom Beary to name Dublin Airport after Lemass. Beary, who is president of the Fianna Fáil organisation in Dublin North-East, wrote to all Fianna Fáil ministers in January urging this move.
A number of airports internationally are called after statesmen, including JFK Airport in New York, Charles de Gaulle in Paris and Pierre Trudeau in Montreal.