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Sinn Féin support Aer Lingus Shannon Rally

20 October, 2007

Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris has called on the people of the mid west region to support the Shannon Aer Lingus rally being held in Limerick City today at 2pm.

Speaking ahead of this afternoon’s rally Deputy Ferris said:

“Successive Fianna Fáil led governments have created an economic and social partition between the east and rest of the island. Investment in infrastructure and job creation has been an afterthought. We have an uneasy economy driven by credit and domestic construction. Now more than ever the people of this region need to start actively demanding that government put in place a coherent and deliverable regional development plan for the mid west.

“The decision to privatise Aer Lingus was not in the best interest of the Irish people.  Privatisation of state assets, infrastructure, services and communications nearly always results in unstable and inequitable delivery of key provisions for ordinary people.  It serves solely to relinquish  government of its responsibility to citizens.

“Sinn Féin supports the Aer Lingus workers in their fight to maintain job security, terms and conditions. There should be no regional disparity in wage agreement with workers by any company operating anyway on the island of Ireland. The Aer Lingus board of management decision to introduce wage differentials between Belfast and its southern hubs fly’s in the face of the Good Friday Agreement.

“Aer Lingus has a strategic part to play in ensuring international connectivity for regional airports throughout the 32 counties to make certain the islands tourism industry is not adversely affected. Sinn Féin intend holding the government to account to ensure that its taking up of all board of management seats along with its golden share secures this connectivity going forward.

“Sinn Féin demands that the government pressure Aer Lingus to make available to Shannon the two Heathrow slots currently leased out to BA and Continental Airlines. This should be done as soon as they become available or better still, an early release be negotiated between the airlines.

“A much more proactive approach to securing Shannon’s international connectivity needs to be taken by government. In the event a Heathrow route cannot be delivered then we call on government to ensure the region remains linked to an alternative key international airport such as Amsterdam Schipol Airport or Charles de Gaulle in Paris.

“The fight for the retention of the Aer Lingus Shannon Heathrow route and the demand for balanced regional development are intertwined. They are a product of the government’s lack lustre approach  to the delivery of services and infrastructures needed by people throughout this country. This trajectory can be reversed if the people of this region stand together in their demand for a better future for the mid west than what has been delivered in the past.” CRIOCH

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