Mayor of Limerick calls special meeting after Aer Lingus confirms plan to close Shannon base

Mayor of Limerick calls special meeting after Aer Lingus confirms plan to close Shannon base

An Aer Lingus plane at Shannon Airport | PICTURE: Brendan Gleeson

THE Mayor of the City and County of Limerick is to call a special meeting of the local authority after Aer Lingus announced plans to permanently close its base at Shannon Airport.

Describing the news as ‘a very sad day for Limerick and the Mid-West’ Cllr Michael Collins said his thoughts are with the 126 staff and their families who are now facing redundancy.

"While I understand that the aviation industry has been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, we now need clarification from Aer Lingus about what this means for the retention of services particularly on our key routes into Heathrow and North America and a timeline for when these are expected to resume," he said.

The decision has been met with anger from politicians on all sides and it was raised in the Dáil this Tuesday afternoon.

In response to Clare TDs Cathal Crowe and Michael McNamara, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said it was "very sad and difficult news" for the workers being laid off.

"International connectivity is vital for the economic well-being of the country and remains a priority for the Government. The news today coming from Shannon is very sad. Regarding Cork and other areas, travel has been at rock bottom and at very low levels. Developments in this regard are ongoing, and next week the Government will decide on the broader issue of travel and participation in the digital green certificate. We are making progress on that front, and that is central to the plan for reopening later in the summer in respect of the aviation industry," he said.

Mayor Collins is calling on the government to implement the recommendations of the taskforce on aviation to assist the sector to recover from the Covid crisis and to introduce policies to protect Shannon and other regional airports outside of Dublin.

“I’m also calling on the government to fast-track the appointment of a new Chairperson for the Shannon Group as it has been without one now for nine months in the biggest crisis for aviation ever in Ireland and this appointment needs to be in place as a matter of urgency, he added.

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