Shannon Airport “has been abandoned”

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THE short distance from Shannon Airport to Limerick city has been a key attraction for foreign direct investment to the Limerick economy which has been buoyed by the pharmaceutical industry.

Speaking this afternoon, Limerick Green TD, Brian Leddin said the closure of Aer Lingus’s Shannon base has come “as a shock, and I’m acutely conscious of the devastating effect that this news will have on the families affected”.

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“Shannon Airport is a strategic asset for the region and for the country and it must remain so. While obviously the coronavirus pandemic has had a dire effect on the aviation sector, decisions we take now must recognise the future importance of Shannon to the West of Ireland.”

Deputy Leddin called on his colleagues in government to “ensure a sustainable future for the airport, with connectivity for the region being vitally important for our economic growth”.

Limerick Labour Party councillor Conor Sheehan called for “a survival package” to protect airline workers as well as “additional support” for airlines “with conditionality that they cannot make layoffs and redundancies”.

Cllr Sheehan said in his opinion Shannon Airport “has been abandoned by Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens”, with losses of “over €1.3 million a week”.

“Our aviation industry is being sleepwalked into ruin by this Government and in particular our regional airports due to the consistent failure of this government and Minister Eamon Ryan to implement a comprehensive aviation policy.”

Cllr Sheehan called on the government to “to consider a maximum aircraft movement cap for Dublin airport as has been implemented in Schipol in the Netherlands as over 90% of flights arrive and depart from Dublin” due to Shannon’s reliance on European and transatlantic connectivity.