Thursday, 18 February 2021
Covid-19 (Enterprise, Trade and Employment): Statements
I raise the impact the pandemic has had on those working in the aviation and travel sectors across Ireland. Covid-19 and its necessary restrictions have had a devastating impact on the sector. Protecting public health is the number one priority but we must also think of the essential role of aviation and travel. It employs 140,000 directly and indirectly and is vital to our island's connectivity and to our society and economy.
Without putting too fine a point on it, workers in the sector have no faith in a Green Party Minister to protect them. The Oireachtas committee is ably chaired by the Tánaiste's party colleague, the previous speaker, Deputy O'Donnell. The committee has engaged extensively with the Irish Air Line Pilots Association, IALPA, Fórsa, SIPTU, Connect and other unions in the sector. We have also met with the airports, airlines and travel agents, and to a man and woman, these organisations are adamant that better support for their industry is needed. They are calling for sector-specific supports to recognise the massive hit the aviation sector has suffered, direct State investment in airports and airlines, and a German-style support package for workers. They point towards the scale and type of supports in other countries. It is no coincidence that a number of speakers have raised this issue with the Tánaiste. I am encouraged by the responses so far. I ask that the Tánaiste would reaffirm that commitment to support the sector and the jobs within it, notwithstanding the challenges that are there.