Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has lambasted Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan for commissioning yet another report on the future of Shannon Airport.
Minister Ryan has announced a new taskforce on Shannon. This follows the Aviation Taskforce report of last year, a “review” of the Shannon Group by his own department last summer, and the publication of a Joint Oireachtas Committee Report on Aviation published last December.
Speaking in the Seanad, Senator Gavan said:
“Shannon Airport currently resembles a slow motion car crash. Each new month brings entirely predictable news of further job losses.
“We have already lost 81 cabin crew jobs from Aer Lingus. Now we hear a review is underway regarding the 500 jobs at Lufthansa Technik. A year into this government the response of the Minister is to announce another taskforce report.
“The recommendations of the Aviation Task Force Report have not yet been implemented, the 20 recommendations from the Oireachtas report are gathering dust.
“We have also seen reports on aviation from KPMG and the Limerick Chamber of Commerce on the future of Shannon. We have no insight from the review by the Minsters own department alleged to have been carried out last summer.
“But apparently this is not enough. Rather than take concrete action to save our international airport at Shannon, Minister Ryan wants yet another report.
“Meanwhile, key decisions are pending from Aer Lingus with regard to the Heathrow slots, which will no longer be guaranteed to Shannon from September of next year.
“And crucially Minister Ryan continues to ignore the demand that a new state airport authority be established, re-integrating Shannon with Dublin and Cork, and ending the ludicrous situation where Shannon has to compete directly with Dublin Airport for business.”
“At some point the Minister must find the courage to bring fundamental structural change to Shannon.
“The problem is that instead of using the time of Covid to re-engineer aviation policy in line with regional economic policy, the Minister has floundered and appears utterly incapable of making any positive policy choices to stave off the collapse of our international airport.”