A delegation of County Councillors from the West of Ireland met with Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Pascal Donohue, T.D., in Dublin this afternoon to express their concerns about the proposed sale of Aer Lingus to IAG.
The meeting was organised by Councillor John Crowe, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council who was joined in Leinster House by Damien Ryan, Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council and Michael Fitzgerald , Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council.
While unable to attend this afternoon’s meeting, the Mayors of Limerick, Galway and Kerry have also backed the message delivered to the Minister which outlined that elected members in the West rejected any commitment from IAG that does not “explicitly guarantee” Aer Lingus’ long term commitment to services between Shannon Airport and London Heathrow, as well as transatlantic services.
“At today’s meeting we stressed the necessity of securing a 15-year guarantee from IAG in respect of Shannon’s Heathrow slots and service levels as the 5-year guarantee proposed by IAG CEO Willie Walsh does not give sufficient confidence to companies seeking to invest in the region and does not assure the connectivity that is required for the West of Ireland. Furthermore, we asked the Minister to also relay to Cabinet that guarantees should be secured in respect of Aer Lingus’ transatlantic services,” said Councillor Crowe.
“Shannon Airport is thriving again thanks to the efforts of the new management and board in place at Shannon. The retention of existing and development of new Aer Lingus services is central to future growth at Shannon as well as maintaining existing activity and investment in industry and tourism.
“Minister Donohoe took our concerns on board and pledged to bring them to Cabinet as it discusses its options going forward in respect of the IAG’s bid,” he added.