Martina Devlin: Air traffic controllers are living in an ivory tower
'SO it begins," as Theoden, king of Rohan, says in 'The Lord of the Rings'. And indeed it does. Here we are, just three weeks into 2010, with industrial unrest already tilting out of control and more on the horizon.
Disruptive, antagonistic and oppressively predictable: how frustrating it is to watch this air-traffic control dispute play out. But it is even more baffling to consider that yesterday's strike, which closed runways and grounded planes at Dublin, Shannon and Cork, could have been averted.
Two years ago, Noel Dempsey acknowledged that essential service providers needed no-strike clauses in their contracts. As Transport Minister, he should have made them a priority. Words were not followed by actions, however, as frequently happens in this country. The result is a handful of air traffic controllers -- quite legally, if totally irresponsibly -- bringing three airports to a standstill for an afternoon.