A group of 15 Independent TDs will introduce a Private Members Motion to the Dáil tomorrow (10:00am-midday, Wednesday, 11 November 2020) seeking a range of Government interventions to offset “the imminent crisis facing Irish airports”, in particular Shannon, Knock, Kerry, Donegal and Cork airports.
The group, comprising members of the Independent, Rural Independent and Regional Independent groupings, is calling on the Government to:
• implement in full the recommendations of the Aviation Recovery Taskforce
• prepare a new national aviation policy that recognises the importance of regional connectivity to balanced and more sustainable regional development
• revise Fáilte Ireland objectives to include attracting tourists to fly directly into the State’s regional airports
• develop a testing regime for passengers to and from both Orange and Red listed destinations in the EU in order to fully implement the spirit of the recent European Council Recommendation on a co-ordinated approach to the restriction of free movement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
• include Shannon and Cork Airports in financial assistance currently provided by the State for capital works and the development of routes, as allowed under EU state aid rules, and that the said financial assistance be increased in recognition of the precarious financial position of airports outside Dublin
• acknowledge Shannon Airport’s traditional role as Ireland’s transit airport and the reduced carbon-emissions of intercontinental flights from the airport due to its longer runway and in acknowledgement thereof limit fifth-freedom rights to airlines using Shannon Airport for intercontinental transit flights.
The group is “seeking Government recognition of the vital strategic role occupied by the aviation sector in the development of the national economy and the importance of maintaining connectivity to the regions, as well as acknowledgement of the link between attracting foreign direct investment into regions and their aviation connectivity.
“We are also asking Government to recognise that transatlantic flights to and from Shannon can be operated with a reduced carbon footprint per passenger to those operated from Dublin Airport and also the unsustainability of an ever-increasing proportion of tourists to Ireland flying into Dublin Airport whence they are being bussed to other regions of the State.”
The group of Independent TDs comprises Michael McNamara (Clare), Joan Collins (Dublin South-Central), Marian Harkin (Sligo Leitrim), Thomas Pringle (Donegal), Catherine Connolly (Galway West), Michael Fitzmaurice (Roscommon Galway), Michael Collins (Cork South West), Sean Canney, (Galway East), Noel Grealish, (Galway West) Danny Healy Rae, Michael Healy Rae (Kerry), Richard O’Donoghue (Limerick), Denis Naughten (Roscommon Galway), Mattie McGrath (Tipperary) and Carol Nolan (Laois/Offaly).