Friday, 16 October 2020
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
Martin Conway (Fine Gael)
It was with great regret that Ryanair announced yesterday that it would close its bases in Shannon and Cork for the winter. The decision was not a surprise because Ryanair is a private company that must make commercial decisions.
Next Tuesday, at Cabinet, the Minister for Transport will make a proposal to provide funding for Shannon and Cork airports and other airports. I sincerely hope that the funding package will be significant. I hope that it will facilitate capital investment in the airport and help the airport with its operational costs.
I ask the Leader to facilitate a debate on transport, particularly on Shannon and Cork airports, after the Government announcement was made because it is critical that this House analyses, with the Minister present, the details of the package of measures that will be available to airports. I appeal to him to ensure that the package is large enough to sustain the airport not just through the pandemic but to facilitate it developing and building. People reckon that 2024 will be the next year we will see figures like 2019 but that is four years away. A lot of critical work needs to be done in the intervening period. We are an island nation and the west of Ireland is deeply dependent on air travel. It is critical for us to have a debate whereby the Minister outlines his proposal to make the airports sustainable.