I raised the issue of the Aer Lingus announcement to permanently close its cabin crew base at Shannon airport directly with An Taoiseach, Micheal Martin during Leaders Questions in Dáil Éireann.
Text of Dáil Éireann debate:
Willie O’Dea TD
“I will bring the Taoiseach back to what, in my view, is the totally disproportionate decision by Aer Lingus management yesterday to effectively sack 126 cabin crew and ground staff. Is there a full realisation in Government of the potential consequences of this for regional imbalance, tourism and investment generally in the region? What, if any, communication has been made with Aer Lingus management to ask it to reverse or at least review that decision, in view of the fact it was linked to quarantine, which, I am told, is due to end shortly? Can the Taoiseach confirm that quarantine will end shortly? Has the Government received any assurance from Aer Lingus regarding the valuable Shannon routes, particularly to Heathrow and to several American destinations?”
“I call on Aer Lingus to review and change its decision. The Ministers will meet with Aer Lingus management today. The entire thrust of Government policy is to create proper regional development and balance in the economic development of this country. Airports, including Shannon and Cork Airports, are key to that. As was said earlier, over the years the volume of traffic has been concentrated in the Dublin area so we need to build up regional cities, such as Limerick, Cork and many others. That is why the largest infrastructural investment has been put into those cities. On the specifics, there is a realisation in Government of the seriousness of this matter. No effort will be spared to get international travel back. Next week, we will have proposals around the entire area of international travel as we emerge from the pandemic.”