| -0.4°C Dublin

Pick up that phone now Mr Cowen and save 300 airport jobs

In politics where there is a will there is inevitably a way. Time and again we have seen this old maxim come true.

Polar opposites brought together to secure an outcome in the best interests of a community.

Regrettably, when it comes to the possibility of saving 300 high-tech engineering jobs for Dublin North, and Ireland generally, both Mary Coughlan and Brian Cowen failed.

There doesn't seem to have been a political will to deliver these jobs and now there may be no way that they can be saved.

The jobs, like 50,000 of our best and brightest over the last year are heading overseas. That is a savage blow that could have been avoided.

A particularly savage blow to the 300 families for whom these jobs would have been a lifeline to the future.

Let's remember that this is a political mess and jobs disaster that goes back months and months, not just the farce we have seen played out recently.

Out of a possible 500 jobs for Dublin Airport, 200 had already been lost to a delighted Prestwick Airport before the Government's inaction came to light.

At the heart of the matter is whether or not the Government were ready to push every button they could to secure these jobs. Pick up the phone. Call all the main players into meetings. Ask officials what is possible, not simply what is obvious. Make it happen. Above all, make it happen. But now some other European country is going to benefit. Not Dublin North. Not the Irish economy. Following the Ryanair jobs losses, the debacle of jobs lost at Dell and the original SRTechnics job losses, one now has to ask if Mary Coughlan is in the right job?

The Minister and her officials and the DAA will of course argue that Hangar 6, the one that Ryanair wanted to operate out of was already leased to Aer Lingus.

Well, the photos released by Ryanair yesterday showed it wasn't exactly overflowing with activity. They also argue that there is a lease that can't be broken.

Except there is a clause in all DAA leases with airlines that says that a lease on a hangar can be broken if it is in the interest of "aircraft operation and airport development".

What on earth could be more important to Dublin Airport's development, and our own jobs-starved economy, than securing such a highly skilled airplane-maintenance operation with 300 jobs for unemployed SRTechnics workers?

Disastrously, it transpires that political egos and airport turf wars have proved more important.

If it's not already too late the Taoiseach should now do what Enda Kenny advised him to do; pick up the phone and save these jobs.

hnews@herald.ie


Privacy