People in the Mid-West region should be alarmed by Limerick TD Richard O’Donoghue’s Dáil remarks that he does not support State assistance provided to the aviation industry, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Clare Senator Martin Conway said Deputy O’Donoghue talked down the supports given to the aviation sector during a debate on the Finance Bill in the Dáil on Wednesday night, which is bizarre coming from a Mid-West representative where Shannon Airport is a major driver for the local and national economy.
Senator Conway said: “I was dismayed to hear Deputy O’Donoghue’s comments on the airline industry where he listed out the incentives provided to it, while pointing out that they are carbon tax exempt during a debate on the Finance Bill in the Dáil last evening.
“We know the Deputy is opposed to increases in carbon tax, but to make the argument that the aviation sector should not receive certain supports is quite simply extraordinary given that Shannon Airport is in his own back yard,” the Clare Senator said.
Senator Conway said he fully supported the response from Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe to Deputy O’Donoghue in the Dáil.
The Finance Minister said, “Deputy O’Donoghue comments on aviation were perhaps the most extraordinary I have heard made by a Deputy from Limerick and the Mid-West make in some time. I hope those who work in Shannon Airport and who depend on a living from aviation in his county and region, and who work in tourism who are eager to see the return of international tourists to our shores and who recognise the value of aviation in doing that, heard Deputy O’Donoghue’s comments this evening.”
Senator Conway said State supports are essential for Shannon Airport.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, Government has been assisting our regional airports recover from the devastating impact it has had through direct exchequer supports and other funding programmes.
“As Deputy O’Donoghue should know, Shannon Airport is a key driver of business and economic development in the Mid-West region, with many people relying on it for regional and international connectivity, as well as for the thousands of jobs that it provides and supports.
“Shannon Airport and the subsidiary industry is of critical importance to all in Clare, Limerick, Tipperary, Kerry, Galway and along the West coast. It is astonishing that an independent TD is against State supports for the airport.
“It is essential that Shannon Airport, and indeed other airports, are well positioned to contribute to the overall recovery when business and tourism return to pre-pandemic levels.
“All sectors must play their part in the fight against climate change and those actions will be outlined in the Climate Action Plan, which is more ambitious than any plan that’s gone before it.
“Indeed, Deputy O’Donoghue would do well to educate himself on climate policy before pitting the aviation sector against other sectors, particularly when the livelihoods of many of his constituents are dependent on it.
Deputy O’Donoghue’s Dáil contribution:
Minister Paschal Donohoe’s response: