January 20th, 2010 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen has called for the intervention of the Labour Relations Commission in any effort to end the dispute which will see massive disruption to Irish Air Services this afternoon.

“I understand that 5 Air Traffic Controllers at Shannon were suspended yesterday because they refused to cooperate with the introduction of new technology and that further suspensions could follow today. If this continues then we could be facing into a situation where Air Travel into this country will be brought to a complete standstill.”

“As a Ireland Nation, air access is essential. The Air Traffic Control Centre at Shannon Airport controls around 90% of all Irish Airspace and 220 miles off the south and west coasts, so it is not only Shannon Airport or indeed Irish Airports which be affected by the disruption. Three Ryanair flights to Faro, Gatwick and Paris have been cancelled this afternoon as well as the Aer Lingus Flight to London Heathrow. The BA transit flight en route from London City Airport to the US which lands at Shannon to avail of US Pre Clearance facilities has also been cancelled and this is very unfortunate as the Airport tries to optimise the benefits of having this service in place.”

“Elements of the dispute between both parties are due to be discussed at the Labour Court in Mid-February but this is too long for this dispute to be allowed to fester. No dispute can be resolved without both parties sitting down around a table. Even at this the eleventh hour disruption could be avoided with the assistance of the Labour Relations Commission”