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Cork Crash

President and Taoiseach express deep shock and sadness at Cork air crash

Political parties cancel events: Fianna Fáil postpones its fiscal policy launch, though Fine Gael’s proceeds; Labour leaders Eamon Gilmore offers sympathies.

Updated, 13.47

PRESIDENT MARY McALEESE has expressed her “deep shock and sadness” at the loss of six lives in this morning’s aircraft crash.

The President said her “thoughts and prayers, and those of all the people of Ireland, are with the families of the deceased and the survivors.”

The Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, his thoughts were with “all of those affected by this morning’s crash, including the families and friends of those who have died. I also want to send my best wishes and those of the government, to all of those who survived the crash and are being treated in hospital at present.”

Much of the morning’s election campaigning was put on hold in the wake of the fatal accident.

Fianna Fáil, which was due to launch its fiscal policy this morning in Dublin, has postponed the launch in light of the accident, while party leader Micheal Martin – a Cork native, who was campaigning in the county this morning – has also paused his schedule.

Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin said everyone’s emotions and sympathies were with all involved and with the families. He added that Cork Airport has had an excellent safety record through the years.

Saying he was “greatly saddened” to learn of the accident, Martin commended the emergency services “for their work and commitment.”

Minister for Transport Pat Carey said the head of the air accident unit was on his way to Cork, heading up the investigation into what happened.

Fine Gael continued with its own conference, with Enda Kenny launching his policy document on the policy’s fiscal strategy at the party’s election HQ in Dublin.

The event began, however, with a minute’s silence in the memories of those killed in the disaster, which had been confirmed at three at the time of writing.

“My prayers are with the families and friends of those who have lost their lives today, and anyone who has been injured,” Kenny said afterward.

Fine Gael’s transport spokesman Simon Coveney said today was “about a rescue operation”.

Labour transport spokesman Joe Costello issued a statement saying he was “shocked and saddened” by the airport deaths.

“Clearly there must be the most comprehensive inquiry possible into all aspects of this accident and appropriate lessons learned to ensure that such disasters can be averted in the future,” he said.

Green Party chairman Dan Boyle said the accident was “a dreadful blow to everyone in the Cork area and across the country”, and said the victims were in his thoughts and prayers.

Boyle, a former TD and current candidate in Cork South Central, added that the airport had an exemplary safety record which was a source of pride for everyone in the region.

A Sinn Féin spokesman said the party’s manifesto launch was continuing for 11:30am this morning, and that party president Gerry Adams was to pay tribute to the victims before the launch.

Additional reporting by Jennifer O’Connell