Fine Gael Cork East TD, Tom Barry, has welcomed a statement from the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, that the Government is still willing to negotiate with our two main airlines on the abolition of the travel tax, in return for additional flights to Ireland. Deputy Barry has vowed to work closely with the Minister on the issue.
“The Fine Gael Internal Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, which I chair, recently heard from Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary, who presented some very worthwhile proposals on boosting tourism numbers here. Both Ryanair and Aer Lingus were engaged in discussions with the Government earlier on the abolition of the tax travel in exchange for increased flights into Ireland, but unfortunately no agreement was reached.
“I was delighted to hear the Minister for Finance directly address this issue during his Budget speech earlier this week. The Minister made it implicitly clear that the offer is still on the table for the airlines, and that the Government wants the main carriers to bring extra tourists into the country.
“This is a very welcome statement from Minister Noonan, and I hope it can restart dialogue between the Government and the airlines. I intend to do what I can to work with Michael O’Leary to move this situation forward.
“Tourism has been identified as a key growth sector, with visitor numbers already up by 11% this year. We need to do all we can to build on this success. During his discussions with the Internal Jobs Committee, Mr O’Leary pledged to work with the Government to grow visitor numbers.
“I am very keen to move this matter forward, to ensure we can get an agreement with the airlines that will see extra visitors being brought into the country, and provide a further boost to tourism revenues.”