Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has revealed he had considered taking the flight which crashed at Cork Airport today.
The Manx2 airline plane with 10 passengers and two crew was travelling from George Best Belfast City Airport. It crash landed on runway 17 at Cork on the third attempt to land at 9.51am.
At a press conference in Belfast City Airport, Mr McGuinness said: “This is a very shocking and deeply saddening event.
“The loss of lives is awful and our hearts go out to the families of all those who have been bereaved and indeed the families of those people who have been injured.”
He said the Stormont administration was in contact with police on both sides of the border and was offering all assistance it could.
“This is a route I have travelled on a number of occasions. In fact, I am going to be in Munster tomorrow and I had contemplated travelling on this flight, but that changed due to other circumstances," said Mr McGuinness.
“So I am very conscious of the fact that this is a flight that is frequented by people from the business community, people who have family reasons to travel to Cork and indeed people who are involved in tourism.
“Our hearts are broken for those people who have lost loved ones in this incident and we want to send our condolences and very deep sympathy on what is a very tragic and traumatic time for themselves.”