Government must awaken from their Slumber – Finalise the Mid-West Task Force Report and Act on its Recommendations – BREEN.

October 8th, 2009 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen reacting to the news that 130 jobs are to be lost in the Shannon Industrial Estate with the potential for further job losses in Shannon following the Aer Lingus announcement to shed 676 jobs said that “this triple jobs blow for this Region must awaken this tired Government from their slumber”, adding that “the Government must now prioritise the publication of the Mid-West Jobs Task Force report and act immediately upon its recommendations”.
“We woke up yesterday morning to very bad news on the jobs front here in County Clare. 50 jobs lost at GE Money, 80 jobs lost at Tecnotree and the announcement of 676 job losses at Aer Lingus. Tecnotree is one of the world’s leading suppliers of business and operations support systems for telecom operators and they have cited the current economic conditions and a reduction in demand for their decision. I empathise with the Staff involved and their families and I hope that Tecnotree will continue to operate in Shannon and that the remainder of the jobs can be secured.
Regarding the announcement of 50 job losses at GE Money in Shannon it is very regrettable and it is not easy to lose your job at any time but it is much more difficult during a time of deep recession where there are very few opportunities for alternative employment. The Jobs losses here are a symptom of the difficult economic circumstances and the changed circumstances where the demand for mortgages has reduced significantly with many current mortgage holders finding themselves in negative equity. This week the debate continues here in Dail Eireann on NAMA. We will continue to witness more jobs losses in Companies like GE Money unless this Government gets to grip with the Banking Crisis and ensures that credit begins to flow in our Economy

Then we heard the news that Aer Lingus is planning to shed 676 jobs at the Airline which is a huge body blow and it casts a cloud not alone over the future of their staff based at Shannon Airport but also over the future of their transatlantic services from Shannon.

My immediate thoughts are with the Aer Lingus Staff at Shannon and their families. They have been through a very difficult time in recent years and they have made huge sacrifices to ensure the viability of the Airline, including resigning from Aer Lingus and being reinstated at significantly reduced wages.

While the finer details of the plan are due to be discussed with Staff today and over the next number of days I hope that the Airlines Staff at Shannon Airport will not bear the brunt of the latest cutbacks.

I am also concerned about the Airline’s future plans for their services at Shannon Airport particularly if they are planning to shed 489 jobs from among their pilots and cabin crew. “

The future of Aer Lingus is hugely important to Shannon Airport, however, Aer Lingus have got it very wrong when it comes to Shannon previously. The decision to axe the Shannon/Heathrow Services was proven to be the wrong one and thankfully has been reversed and while they continue to refuse to use the US Pre Clearance facilities at Shannon Airport, in 1990 when they made a similar decision when the facility first opened they were also forced to do a u-turn.

It is important on this occasion that Christoph Mueller considers the Regional benefits for the Airline. There are opportunities for development at Shannon, now that they are basing an A320 to increase frequency on the Heathrow Route they should look at developing other short-haul routes from the Airport. In relation to their transatlantic services from Shannon it is hugely important for this Region’s connectivity that we retain a direct daily US Service. This is essential to retain this region’s competitiveness and for our Tourism Sectors. The Airline’s focus should be on the positives which Shannon Airport and this Region has to offer.

Yesterday, we were dealt a triple body blow on the jobs front and unemployment has soared in this County over the past 12 months with over 10,000 people now signing on.

The response from Government to our jobs crisis has been wholly inadequate. The Mid-West Jobs Task Force was set up in the wake of the Dell Job Losses and while the interim report has been published, the report is continuing to gather dust on the shelves in the Department with no indication as to when the final report will be published.

It is now imperative that this report is finalised immediately and the Government must begin the work of implementing its recommendations. Otherwise, this County will continue to have days like today when triple job losses announcements will become the norm.”