Politicians from across the political spectrum have expressed concern at Ryanair's decision to close its bases at Cork and Shannon Airports for the winter.
Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said he has been assured by Ryanair that the closures are a temporary decision and if there is a return to “some sort of normality” then the hubs could re-open.
He said that it is "the reality" that planes cannot fly with nobody on board. He added that Ireland has signed Ireland up to the EU’s Traffic Light travel system which will be finalised at the Cabinet meeting next Tuesday.
“We will try to make travel as safe as possible,” he said.
Fianna Fáil TD for Clare, Cathal Crowe said he was "shocked" by the news, adding that the Government had met the company's "major ask".
“Last week Ryanair’s Eddie Wilson came before the Oireachtas Transport Committee demanding that Ireland fully adopt the EU traffic light system for a safe return to international flying. It was understood that this would allow Ryanair to begin to more properly plan routes and schedules for the months ahead.
“The traffic light system and Ryanair’s major ask has been met; but now, within a few short hours, they are announcing this closure. They clearly intend to use the new EU protocols to fly the more lucrative routes in/out of Dublin, Stansted, but not Shannon and Cork."
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport Darren O'Rourke TD said that the news is another blow for the aviation sector.
“The government’s green list has been a total failure. Its fuddled implementation didn’t help the aviation sector and their failure to pursue airport testing continues to be a major mistake.
“With the DAA proposing a plan to carry out 15,000 tests a day in their airports, it is unacceptable that Minister Eamon Ryan is still sitting on his hands."
Independent Clare TD Michael McNamara, in whose county Shannon Airport is located, said the Government "needs to introduce a system of rapid testing at airports".