Ireland is losing ground on aviation says Galway senator

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Ireland is losing ground on all fronts on aviation and the Government must act to protect this vital national interest, a Galway senator has said.

Speaking in the Seanad, Senator Seán Kyne said that late 2019 seems like a different world when the then Government was able to buy the Connemara airport for the PSO service to the Aran Islands.

“Little did anyone think we would see the collapse in the aviation sector across the world even a few months after that,” the Fine Gael senator said.

Senator Kyne said that having spoken with senior management in US-based multinationals in Galway, he acknowledges that the present status of the aviation sector is of concern to them.

“The view is that we are being left behind compared to other countries. One commented that we need to be more in step with other countries.

“Another commented that competitor countries are back operating international travel. I am concerned about the impact on businesses supported by foreign direct investment, FDI, the impact on the hugely important tourism industry, particularly from Shannon Airport and Ireland West Airport Knock, the hundreds of jobs in aviation across the regions, the wider impact on connectivity and the increasing peripherality due to the collapse in the sector, and the loss of opportunity of new investment.

“IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Údarás na Gaeltachta client companies, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and University Hospital Galway, in my own region, depend on connectivity internationally,” he said.

Senator Kyne called for a debate on aviation, which will take place on Monday.

“We need to look at antigen testing, how it is being used in other countries, how it is being used internationally, how it is benefiting other countries and why it is not being deemed to be a runner in this country, he added.

“It is broader than the two Ministers for transport. There needs to be a whole-of-government debate on the sector, on the impact on jobs, on the impact on tourism and on the impact on every sector and every region.”