News & Media

Ongoing failures on airport testing will cost aviation jobs

18 October 2020

Statement by Duncan Smith TD
Party Whip and Spokesperson on Climate Action, Communications Networks and Transport.
  • Aer Lingus routes now at risk in Cork and Shannon.
  • Airport testing promised for months but still not delivered.
  • Government inaction is destroying jobs.

The incoherent approach by the government to aviation continues said Labour Transport spokesperson Duncan Smith as the failure to provide airport testing is damaging confidence and destroying jobs as Aer Lingus routes are likely to be lost in Cork and Shannon according to reports in today's Business Post.

Deputy Smith said:

"For months I've had one simple ask of the government which is to provide airport testing for arrivals and departures. The Labour Party has been requesting this for months now and I cannot understand why Ministers are still dragging their feet. It would restore confidence and provide some hope for workers in the sector that their jobs can be saved.

“This is putting thousands of jobs at risk and doing nothing to restore public confidence in international travel. The State is due to start rapid antigen testing like Labour has been calling for, and I would urge the government to roll this out quickly at our airports.

"Today again we've heard nothing of substance from the Minister for International Transport. There appears to be no plans for airport testing despite months of talk. I have been raising this issue with Ministers, NPHET and representatives of the aviation sector for 4 months now. We have seen little movement on this from Government and public health officials.

"Just a week ago at the Oireachtas Committee on Transport I again raised the need for Covid-19 testing in Ireland’s airports and it was confirmed to me that the DAA are ready to go with airport COVID-19 testing so why are the Government dragging their heels with so many jobs at stake?

“DAA CEO Dalton Philips confirmed to me that the DAA have the teams and capacity in place to implement testing and are ready to go ahead with the practice. This is a vital measure that needs to be implemented as soon as possible and the government shows no sign of implementing it. Airport testing is happening all over Europe right now.

“We cannot allow Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party sleepwalk this industry into ruin at the cost of thousands of workers.”