Friday, 30 April 2021
Business and Covid-19: Statements
I welcome the Tánaiste to the House and commend him on the job he is doing as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment and the job he did during the pandemic as Taoiseach and continues to do as Tánaiste. As has been said, it is post Covid that the real challenge will fall upon him in terms of economic recovery.I welcome the fact we will have a plan published in the not-too-distant future. The Tánaiste will remember back in October 2011 when he stood with me at the Cliffs of Moher. Back then, the Cliffs of Moher had 800,000 visitors per year. Subsequently, initiatives such as The Gathering, the Wild Atlantic Way and other important tourism initiatives kick-started the economy. Tourism was the first industry that went into recovery after 2011 and it fuelled the economic recovery we have seen over recent years. Tourism will do that again. We do not have natural resources apart from one critically important natural resource which is our landscape, heritage, culture, tradition, shorelines and so on. It is fantastic in that regard.
Aviation is clearly important in my area of the country. We need a plan in terms of short, medium and long-term air traffic and aviation recovery, not just in terms of travel but the aviation industry. We have seen GE Capital Aviation Services, GECAS, and AerCap are joining up. Significant consolidation is taking place which will affect thousands of people working in the aviation industry. As a result of that, we will see challenges in that area. A conversation in terms of the short to medium term and a plan in terms of how we move forward in the aviation industry is urgently needed and the issue needs significant consideration.