Limerick council drops airline boycott motion

LIMERICK City Council last night dropped a motion calling for the boycott of Aer Lingus.

After a flurry of angry exchanges, Cllr Diarmuid Scully of Fine Gael agreed to drop his proposal, which was substituted with one agreed by all 15 councillors present on the Shannon/Heathrow crisis.

After Cllr Scully initially refused a request by Mayor Ger Fahy, also a FG member, to withdraw his motion, angry exchanges raged across the chamber.

Cllr John Gilligan, Ind remarked: “We have come here to protest at the loss of Aer Lingus flights and jobs at Shannon and now want to cut more jobs with a boycott.”

Only Cllr Kevin Kiely, FG, supported Cllr Scully seconding the motion for a boycott of Aer Lingus.

Cllr John Cronin, FF, accused Cllr Scully of engaging in a publicity stunt with his boycott motion.

“Boycotts went out with the flood,” he said.

Cllr Scully said his motion might get institutional investors in Aer Lingus to support the Ryanair extraordinary general meeting move, fearing loss of income through a growing boycott.

The Fine Gael leader on the council, Cllr Michael Hourigan said: “Slots at Heathrow are worth €30 million. The government are handing these four slots to another country. The people in the North do not see themselves as part of the Republic.”

Mayor Fahy said he had received no response to a letter he sent to the Taoiseach on the Aer Lingus withdrawal from Shannon.

He said ten councils from the west will meet on Thursday to consider a response to what the cabinet decides on Wednesday when they meet for the first time after the summer holiday break.

Cllr Pat Kennedy, Ind, said the scale of mismanagement at Aer Lingus was gigantic.

After renewed pleas from the Mayor, Cllr Scully agreed to a short adjournment to meet with the party leaders.

When the meeting resumed, Cllr Scully said he was prepared to give the diplomatic route one more try and withdraw his boycott motion.

However, he warned if the government did not deal with the crisis he would bring back the boycott motion

The council agreed unanimously on a motion: “Limerick City Council calls on Aer Lingus plc to immediately reverse the decision to cancel the Shannon-Heathrow route and if necessary the government should use it’s 25% share holding to ensure the continuation of this service.”

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