News & Media

Hands-off approach to aviation from Govt must end – Smith asks for Dáil debate

12 June 2021

Statement by Duncan Smith TD
Party Whip and Spokesperson on Climate Action, Communications Networks and Transport.
  • Emergency Dáil debate needed as 480 jobs lost and regional connectivity devastated.
  • Clairty needed on what was done to save PSO routes.
  • Constant delay on antigen testing unacceptable.

After Stobart Air ceased operations impacting 480 jobs and causing a devestating loss of regional connectivity, Labour Transport spokesperson Duncan Smith said the hands-off approach from government to aviation must end as he sought a Dáil debate next week on the matter.

Deputy Smith said:

“This is devestating news for regional connectivity and the workers employed that Stobart Air is going into liquidation, leading to the ending of Aer Lingus regional flights that it operated. We need to know what survival package if any was the State prepared to put in place to preserve these services? W

“I have written to the Ceann Comhairle to ask for an emergency Dáil debate on this next week.

“The hands-off approach from government to aviation has to end. It has been pretending that the market would just take care of itself and return the aviation sector to health. Workers and their unions have warned about this for months on the need for real and substantial support for the sector.

“Where was the rescue package if any to ensure these critical routes and jobs were maintained?

“We need answers from the government about which of these were PSO routes, and what was done to either save or secure their future. Were there any negotiations and how was this allowed to happen?

“The foot dragging and delaying on antigen testing is a key problem here, as it is seen as a vital measure that would help to restore confidence.

“It is only the government that has the power to step in here to ensure any further losses in the industry are stemmed.”