Tánaiste defends role in talks over airport jobs

TÁNAISTE Mary Coughlan and the Dublin Airport Authority have vigorously defended their involvement in Ryanair’s failed bid to create 500 engineering and support jobs at the former SR Technics site at Dublin Airport.

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary had accused the Tánaiste of “failing to stand up to the DAA monopoly” and instead, allowing Aer Lingus to lease the site for line maintenance, without providing any extra jobs.

Mr O’Leary had told the department that he did not want to negotiate directly with DAA – a proviso that the Tánaiste had deemed not acceptable.

Last night, DAA director of public affairs, Paul O’Kane, downplayed Ryanair’s efforts to engage in real negotiations and said that Aer Lingus and Dublin Aerospace had gone on to create 250 jobs at that particular site.

“At no stage did Ryanair approach the DAA in relation to having meaningful commercial negotiations with regard to this matter. At that time, the DAA did engage in negotiations with Dublin Aerospace and Aer Lingus in relation to using hangars at Dublin Airport for maintenance businesses. Both of these companies have since leased hangar space at Dublin Airport. Those two aircraft businesses will provide employment for more than 250 people,” he said.

Ms Coughlan added that she and IDA Ireland made “every effort” to advance the outline proposal made by Ryanair.

“Despite the best efforts of IDA, it was not possible to overcome obstacles in relation to access to specific hangar space at the airport. I, my department and enterprise agencies remain available to assist in whatever way we can to maximise investment by Ryanair at Dublin Airport and would ask Mr O’Leary to continue his dialogue with us,” she said.

Two hundred of these proposed maintenance jobs went to Glasgow Prestwick Airport in Scotland where Ryanair announced a new €8 million maintenance facility last week. A second maintenance facility, with a further 300 jobs, will open at a second EU airport later this year.

“The former 1,000 engineering workers in SR Technics must wonder why it is that the Tánaiste and the Minister for Transport would prefer to see the DAA monopoly lease the SRT hangar for line maintenance to Aer Lingus, who have created no new jobs at the facility, rather than sell it or lease it to Ryanair – at an arms-length price – which would have seen up to 500 well paid engineering jobs created in Dublin,” he said.

Meanwhile, Labour party senator Dominic Hannigan and Labour party MEP, Nessa Children have accused the Government of failing to supply sufficient information to the European Commission to ensure the former SR Technics workers can avail of an EU fund aimed at workers whose business operation is moved outside the EU.

“It is disgraceful that it took the Government months to apply for the fund on behalf of SR Technics workers and their families. It was even more shocking when we learnt that they had not given sufficient information to the European Commission,” he said.


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