News & Media

Government must direct funding to airlines to stave off job losses

18 May 2021

Statement by Duncan Smith TD
Spokesperson on Health, Transport and Communications

Labour transport spokesperson Duncan Smith said the Government must act now to stave off further job losses in the aviation sector. There are 324 families who don't want tweets from the Government parties, but action to save jobs.

Deputy Smith said:

“With news of Aer Lingus closing its crew base in Shannon airport, and temporarily closing its base in Cork airport, I am calling on the House to urgently address and debate the issues facing the aviation industry. Since the very beginning of the pandemic, the Government has failed to take a proactive approach to manage the industry with a suite of protections. Had it done so, we would not be hearing of more job losses today in an industry that has been grounded for over a year.

“We only need to look at the German Government’s intervention into helping its own aviation sector with a comprehensive bailout for Lufthansa. It is still not too late for our Government to bring stakeholders together in a similar fashion and devise a scheme that supports and sustains our Irish aviation sector long into the future. People’s lives and livelihoods are on the line.

“I was disappointed to hear the Taoiseach spin a fallacy in the Dáil that these job losses come as a result of Mandatory Hotel Quaranting. This is simply untrue.

“It is an uncomfortable and unfortunate truth for the Government that the job losses announced today are directly as a result of a systematic failure by Government to develop a comprehensive strategy to protect the aviation industry during its most severe crisis. 324 people are without a job today as a result of Government inaction for the industry. While we hope that jobs will return in Cork airport, we know that once a base is closed, it is very difficult to reopen.

“We are an island nation, we are not blind to the fact that we rely heavily on a strong and functioning aviation industry operating not just out of Dublin Airport, but also Cork, Kerry, Shannon and Knock airports. I called for reassurances last May that our regional airports would not be abandoned. The communities of the Midwest have been failed by a lack of urgency by the Government to support and protect workers.

“If the Government is actually serious about balanced regional development it must act now to save the routes of Aer Lingus and the jobs those routes bring. We cannot delay any further. We can no longer afford to have sound bites and wringing of hands from cabinet members and Government party representatives. The House must hold an emergency debate to ensure the viability of the aviation sector in the future.”