A group of Independent TDs from across the West of Ireland have issued a joint statement calling on Government to ensure connectivity from North America and Heathrow to Shannon Airport, and to implement fully the recommendations of the Aviation Recovery Taskforce in support of economic recovery across the region.
Comprised of Michael McNamara (Clare), Michael Collins (Cork South West), Thomas Pringle (Donegal) Sean Canney, (Galway East) Catherine Connolly, Noel Grealish, (Galway West) Danny Healy Rae, Michael Healy Rae (Kerry), Richard O’Donoghue (Limerick), Michael Fitzmaurice, Denis Naughten (Roscommon Galway), Marian Harkin (Sligo Leitrim) and Mattie McGrath (Tipperary), the Independent group is seeking a meeting with Taoiseach Micheál Martin (FF) and Transport Minister Eamon Ryan (GP).
Further to this, engagement with Aer Lingus, Ryanair and the Shannon Group has been sought to ascertain what Government actions are required to maintain connectivity at Shannon which is important to their constituencies from Malin Head to Mizen Head.
Concern has been expressed by the TDs over the potential transfer of Aer Lingus aircraft serving routes to the US from Shannon Airport to alternative UK airports and its delay in recommencing Heathrow flights from Shannon, as well as the decision by Delta and United Airlines not to resume flights from Shannon Airport in 2021.
The TDs have echoed calls made by Ennis, Galway, Limerick and Shannon Chambers of Commerce and are calling on the Government to provide support packages for airlines who will maintain routes from Shannon Airport and to align National Aviation Policy with Project Ireland 2040 in order to strengthen the role of airports as key strategic assets for balanced regional development.
In a statement to The Clare Echo, the group outlined, “The ongoing crisis in the aviation sector is having an unprecedented and ever deepening effect on Shannon Airport which, as a key economic driver for the West of Ireland, needs urgent interventions and supports to ensure its future viability.”
“The airport supports thousands of jobs across multiple sectors and is also a key element of the region’s attractiveness as an allocation for inward investment. The loss of international connectivity would precipitate a collapse in the local tourism sector and prompt multinational employers to consider relocating. Only urgent and decisive intervention by Government can avoid such a scenario,” the group added.