I want to raise the crisis facing our aviation sector. The collapse of Stobart Air last weekend came as another major blow for the sector and for our regional economies. The announcement followed the recent Aer Lingus base closures in Cork and Shannon. After 15 very difficult months, hundreds of workers have been made redundant. It is now reported that Nordica, the Estonian state-owned airline, may take over the Kerry-Dublin route.
This is welcome, as any future re-establishment of public service obligation, PSO, routes would be.
However, it begs the question as to why more was not done to protect Irish jobs, which could now be outsourced. Why was more not done to protect connectivity? Connectivity and regional economies are at risk and jobs are lost. The Minister for Transport, Deputy Eamon Ryan's hands-off approach is seriously damaging Irish aviation. We need a survival and recovery plan now. What action will this Government take to help the aviation sector and secure the future of our regional airports?