Dail Debates Hangar 6

February 16th, 2010 - Pat Breen

Dail Transcript Underneath for your information – Tuesday, 16th February 2010.

Deputy Pat Breen: Aircraft maintenance facilities are extremely important to all airports particularly given the downturn in the aviation sector. Some 300 jobs in Dublin are extremely valuable. We know all about this in the mid-west region. In Shannon, we have Aerospace Limited, Aer Atlanta and the Aer Lingus facility which services the Airbus A330s, the wide-bodied aircraft. I wish the Tánaiste well in her deliberations and on her first date tonight with Michael I ask her to make Mr. O’Leary aware that Ryanair is about to axe 18 destinations at Shannon Airport which will have a huge impact on jobs in the area, and in hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation. I implore the Tánaiste, given that she is having a meeting with Mr. O’Leary, to raise that area also. Along with 300 jobs in Dublin the loss to the mid west region could be almost 1,000 jobs. I ask the Tánaiste to raise that urgent issue because those services will be axed at the end of March.
In regard to the mid west task force and the Links project, which will create hundreds of jobs, what progress has been made since the recent Dáil debate? I appreciate there are problems in regard to EU competition. Will the Tánaiste ensure that Dublin Airport Authority makes the money available for those jobs because we too have an important role to play in the mid west in the aviation sector?

Deputy Mary Coughlan: I do not disagree that Shannon continues to be very important strategically in the context of aviation. There are a number of maintenance and support companies in Shannon for Lufthansa and Aer Lingus. While I support the Links project, as does the Minister for Transport, all the Deputies in the mid west region and the DAA, it is not fully mature yet in order to move on to final decision making. There are issues with EU competition but we are working towards resolving that matter. The task force has afforded it a high priority and we will ensure, in the context of the former’s final report, it remains so.
I am sure the answer with regard to the issues, from Ryanair’s perspective, relating to the availability of flights will be made known.

Deputy Pat Breen: There are some 18 destinations involved. It is a major blow to the region.

Deputy Mary Coughlan: In the context of these jobs, I did not forget about Shannon.

Deputy Dermot Ahern: Deputy Kenny did.

Deputy Mary Coughlan: Although Dublin Airport is the preferred option, I could find as good a solution for Ryanair – in the context of a base for its maintenance operation – at Shannon Airport if it so desired.