Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

19.11 28 Jul 2020


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COVID-19 testing and temperature checks are needed at airports, according to a Sinn Féin TD.

Louise O'Reilly is also warning that 40,000 direct jobs are at risk in the aviation sector if efforts aren't made to protect the industry.

She was speaking after the Dáil's COVID-19 committee heard from industry representatives today.

Ryanair warned that the impact on air travel in Europe will be "apocalyptic" - and Ireland will be "left on the sidelines" if Government 'incentives' aren't made available to grow traffic next year.

Deputy O'Reilly said around 40,000 direct jobs are at risk across airports and the airlines, as well as 100,000 indirect ones.

She told The Hard Shoulder that Dublin Airport is in her own constituency and she has heard the concerns of workers.

She observed: "There wasn't an awful lot of hope coming from the representatives from the aviation industry [today].

"My own constituency will be very, very hard hit if there's not urgent, specific action taken by the Government to protect these jobs.

"This is not going to be like this forever: we'd like to keep these jobs in storage, so that they can resume."

Deputy O'Reilly said industry representatives warned that the current crisis impacting the sector is worse than 9/11 - previously considered to be the biggest catastrophe the industry would face.

She said steps are now needed from the Government to meaningfully address the situation.

She said: "We want to see them testing in the airport... we want temperature checks in the airport.

"We want to see them proactively getting the industry back up and running, when the public health advice allows.

"We know there are inspectors on the ground in Dublin Airport at the moment inspecting people for their social welfare status... I don't agree with that.

"What there aren't on the ground at the moment are people doing testing. If you look at other countries, they are being a bit more proactive about ensuring their airline industry is saved."

She pointed to the UK, saying the industry is getting state funding in "a very targeted way" to keep the jobs going.

The Sinn Féin TD warned that the state will have to pay to support workers if the jobs are lost, so it's important to invest now to protect them.

Main image: File photo of Louise O'Reilly. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

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