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Sinn Féin call for White Paper on Air Transport Policy

4 June, 2004


Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Transport Seán Crowe TD and the party‚s candidate for Dublin in the elections to the European Parliament, Mary Lou McDonald, have jointly called on Minister Seamus Brennan to produce a White Paper on Air Transport as a matter of urgency. Deputy Crowe said that such a paper should be "an essential precursor to any attempt to bring about radical change in the Irish aviation industry". Ms McDonald called on the Minister "to listen, instead of to lecture" and highlighted the importance of air transport to Ireland.

The Dublin South-West TD said: "There is no Government air transport policy beyond caving in to vested interests. There is no strategic and integrated approach to the development of the aviation industry in Ireland that takes into account issues of such fundamental importance as the future of state companies like Aer Rianta and Aer Lingus. The Government has no plan for creating an All-Ireland air transport policy that integrates the aviation infrastructure in the Six Counties or for future investment to cope with increasing passenger demand.

"Sinn Fein is calling on the Minister to produce a White Paper on Air Transport as an essential precursor to any attempt to bring about radical change in the Irish aviation industry such as the sell-off of Aer Lingus or the break up of Aer Rianta. He has provided no socio-economic rationale for his proposals and over a million Euros of taxpayers money has been spent paying for independent reports that have argued against the break-up."

Ms McDonald said: "For an island people the role of air transport is one of fundamental importance. Tens of thousands of jobs are directly dependent on it and vast numbers of people in areas such as tourism and trade are reliant on a dynamic and successful aviation industry. We are calling for Minister Brennan not just to begin work on a White Paper on the issue, but to change his entire approach to the creation of policy. We are asking him to listen, instead of to lecture." ENDS

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