Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport Darren O’Rourke TD has said that the government must put a plan in place to address the crisis in the aviation sector to ensure that base closures do not become permanent.
He was responding to the news today that Ryanair are to close their bases in Shannon and Cork for the winter.
Teachta O’Rourke said;
“This decision by Ryanair is another blow for the aviation sector here.
“This decision will impact hard on workers who will face more unpaid leave and job sharing, putting huge pressure on their personal finances this winter.
“The Department of Social Protection must ensure these workers are assisted in a timely manner to ensure they are not waiting weeks if they have to sign on for a couple of days a week as a result of this decision.
“The ham-fisted approach of this government to the crisis in the aviation sector has no doubt contributed to this decision.
“The government’s green list has been a total failure. Its fuddled implementation didn’t help the aviation sector and their failure to pursue airport testing continues to be a major mistake.
“While the new EU-wide ‘traffic light system’ for travel is welcome and should help the aviation sector next year, this cannot work as intended if we do not have testing capabilities in our airports.
“With the DAA proposing a plan to carry out 15,000 tests a day in their airports, it is unacceptable that Minister Eamon Ryan is still sitting on his hands.
“Airlines such as Ryanair and Aer Lingus also have a responsibility to their employees and long-standing customers.
“It is neither’s fault that we are living through the worst pandemic in a century and while profits will take a battering this year – like most SMEs – airlines need to take account of the valued service of their employees and loyalty of their customers in previous years.
“These base closures are a blow for Cork and Shannon and it is imperative that the government work to ensure they don’t become permanent, as air connectivity is vital for achieving balanced regional growth.”