Sinn Féin’s team in the Mid-West have called for decisive political action from government to save the livelihoods of Shannon Airport workers whose jobs have been threatened as the pandemic takes its toll on the aviation sector.
Shannon Airport staff are due to be taken off the payroll next week after Aer Lingus ceased flights from the beleaguered airport. Limerick TD Maurice Quinlivan, Clare TD Violet-Anne Wynne and Senator Paul Gavan met with the airport workers to hear their grievances and offer their support.
Teachta Wynne said;
“This decision must be challenged by the government. However, the acting Minister for Transport Shane Ross has to date shown precious little interest in this issue and has not even contacted the Shannon CEO since the pandemic hit Ireland.
“This pandemic presents an existential threat to the airport and to the tens of thousands of jobs directly or indirectly reliant on the airport. Around 46,000 jobs are supported by the Shannon Group and the economic impact of the group is around €3.8 billion per year, contributing €1.1 billion to the exchequer.
“The airport is a central part of the mid-western regional economy and it is of critical importance that it be protected. The connectivity offered by the airport with its link to markets in London and New York is a massive boon to the enterprises in the south west.”
Speaking on the issue, Maurice Quinlivan said:
“It is absolutely critical that the Government take action to prevent Aer Lingus cancelling flights from Shannon. There is every chance and huge concern that if the flights stop now, Aer Lingus will either never return to Shannon airport after recovery from the pandemic or else may return in a much-diminished capacity. Flights to London Heathrow must be reinstated immediately and the Boston route as soon as possible.
“The problems that Shannon Airport face are the result of years of bad political decisions, like the privatisation of Aer Lingus by the old Fianna Fáil government and the decoupling of the Airport from the Dublin Airport Authority.
“While bad political decisions have led us to this point, good political decisions have the opportunity to lead us out. We need to guarantee the Aer Lingus routes remain. We need to act decisively to save Shannon Airport, not just for the sake of the directly employed workers but also for the thousands of dependent jobs in the south west.
“Shannon Airport is a cornerstone of Mid-West economy and must be protected.”