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Taoiseach should appoint an independent arbitrator to sort Aran Air Service impasse – Ó Clochartaigh

12 July, 2016


Sinn Féin Gaeltacht spokesperson Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has said the Taoiseach should appoint an independent arbitrator to resolve the impasse on the use of Minna Airport for the purposes of supporting an air service to the Aran Islands.

Speaking today, the Galway West – South Mayo Senator said:

“Oireachtas members met Minister of State Seán Kyne and his officials last week to review the discussions they have been having with the company that owns Minna Airport. That is the only airport mentioned in relation to the new Public Service Obligation contract to provide an air service to the three Aran Islands.

“There has to be agreement between the department and the company as to the annual running costs for the airport before the tender process for the air service itself can be concluded.

“The Minister clarified that there are still three outstanding issues that they have not been able to resolve. I subsequently wrote to the management of the airport seeking clarification from them of their position on these.

“There is disagreement as of yet in relation to the level of profit that is acceptable, that budget items be subject to Consumer Price Index changes and that the overheads be apportioned across flights which are not part of the contract for the PSO to the islands.

“It appears to me that the Minister does not see a way forward in these negotiations and that there is a real danger that the current air service may be discontinued from the end of September if a solution is not found quickly. The deadline for the PSO applications has now been extended for a fourth time.

“I am calling on the Taoiseach to intervene at this stage to try and find a resolution to the impasse. It is clear from the correspondence I have received from the company that they would be open to this happening. The department were not as forthcoming when I made this suggestion to them last week.

“It is also crystal clear from the correspondence from the company that they are very open to discuss the ownership of the airport. Sooner or later, this must be tackled and I would prefer to see a clear delineation between the air service and the ownership of the airport. In my opinion it is worth looking at a model where the airport would be under public, or community based ownership.

“Priority must be given to the continuity of the air service and the opinions of the local community must be given due consideration in in relation to this. It isn’t clear to me that Minister Kyne can see a resolution to the outstanding  issues, which is why I am calling on the Taoiseach now to show some leadership, appoint an independent arbitrator in an effort to help move the negotiations on.” 

Ba cheart don Taoiseach eadránaí a cheapadh don tsáinn faoin tSeirbhís Aeir go hÁrainn – Trevor Ó Clochartaigh

Tá sé ráite ag urlabhraí Gaeltachta  Shinn Féin, an Seanadóir Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, gur chóir don Taoiseach eadránaí a cheapadh féachaint le réiteach a fháil ar an tsáinn ina bhfuil na comhráití maidir le h-úsáid Aerfort na Minna I dtaca leis an tseirbhís aeir go hÁrainn.

Ag labhairt dó inniu deir Seanadóir Ghaillimh Thiar – Maigh Eo Theas:

“Bhuail baill Oireachtais leis an Aire Stáit Gaeltachta Seán Kyne agus a chuid feidhmeannaigh an tseachtain seo caite le plé a dhéanamh ar na comhráití atá ar bun leis an gcomhlacht gur leo Aerfort na Minna. Sin an t-aon aerfort atá luaite ó thaobh an conradh nua Seirbhís Oibligeáid Poiblí chun seirbhís aeir a chur ar fáil do thrí oileáin Árainn.

“Caithfidh socrú a bheith idir an Roinn agus an chomhlacht maidir leis an gcostas bhliaintiúl d’úsáid an aerfoirt sular feidir an próiséas tairisceana don tseirbhís aeir féin a thabhairt chun críche.

“D’inis an tAire dúinn go bhfuil trí ábhar fós ann nach bhfuiltear tagtha ar réiteach futhu. Scríobh mé ansin chuig bainistíocht an aerfoirt ag lorg soiléiriú uathu sin ar dhearcadh iadsan.

“Tá easaontas fós ann maidir leis an leibhéal brabaigh a cheadófar faoin tsocrú, nithe sa gcomhaontú a bheith ceangailte leis an innéacs praghas tomhaltóra agus maidir leis na barrchostais a bheith roinnte ar eitiltí eile nach mbaineann leis an gconradh don tseirbhís aeir go hÁrainn.

“Ní léir dom go bhfeiceann an tAire aon reiteach ar an scéal agus tá an baol ann i gcónaí go gcuirfear deireadh leis an tseirbhís aeir reatha ag deire mí Meán Fómhair muna dtiocfar ar réiteach go sciopaí. Tá an dáta d’iarratais curtha siar don ceathrú uair anois acu.

“Tá mé ag iarraidh ar an Taoiseach dá bhrí sin, seasamh isteach agus eadránaí neamhspleách a cheapadh féachaint leis an tsáinn a réiteach. Is léir ón gcomhfhreagras go mbeadh úinéirí an aerfoirt sásta leis seo. Ní raibh an Roinn ró-fhabhrach don mholadh céanna nuair a chuir mé ós a gcomhair é an tseachtain seo caite.

“Tá sé ríshoiléir chomh maith ón gcomhfhreagras ón gcomhlacht go bhfuil siad sásta ceist úinéireachta an aerfoirt a phlé. Luath nó mall caithfear aghaidh a thabhairt ar seo agus b’fhearr liom féin dá mbeadh deighilt shoiléir idir an tseirbhís aeir féin agus úinéireacht an aerfoirt. Dar liomsa, is fiú breathnú ar an aerfort a bheith faoi úinéireacht pobail, nó poiblí, chuige seo.

“Caithfear tosaíocht a thabhairt do leanúnachas na seirbhíse aeir, maraon le tuairimí an phobail faoin tseirbhís a bheidh ar fáil . Ní léir dom go bhfeiceann an tAire Kyne cén bealach leis an gceist seo a réiteach agus sin an fáth go gceapaim gur cheart don Taoiseach ceannasaíocht a ghlacadh agus eadránaí neamhspleách a cheapadh leis na comhráití a bhrostú chun cinn."

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