Another Irish Government Minister, Eamon O’Cuiv, has decided to criticise [Updated O’Cuiv link via Limerick Blogger] the Irish Government over the Aer Lingus decision and the Defence Minister, Limerick TD Willie O’Dea, has been painting defeat as victory.. Perhaps he should have listened to the Aer Lingus Chief Executive, Dermot Mannion, more carefully at that meeting.. or even to the official Irish Government statement.. oh, and the Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern is reported to be saying that the Heathrow route is over-rated [final paragraph].. Interestingly, with all the focus on intra-governmental disagreements, there’s silence from those who were, initially, most enthusiastic. [statement made on 7 Aug]
Dr Paisley said: “This is great news for Northern Ireland. It is another shining example of how competitive our economy is becoming. As with other recent announcements, there was stiff competition from another region to secure this deal. Much praise must therefore go to Aer Lingus and Belfast International Airport for their commitment to Northern Ireland.
Improving our economy is one of our key priorities and today’s announcement represents a massive boost. Reinstating the crucial Northern Ireland-Heathrow route is immensely significant for businesses, and will serve to strengthen our linkages within the UK economy, which is the fourth largest in the world ”
Junior Minister Gerry Kelly, in welcoming the announcement said: “This is a tremendous boost for our aviation industry. Our economy will greatly benefit from these eight new routes and will provide further choice for travellers. Significantly though, the flights to Heathrow and Amsterdam will raise the opportunity of direct onward flights to many more worldwide destinations. This is yet another tangible example that the peace dividend is working and I thank Aer Lingus for choosing us and Belfast International Airport for ensuring their vision became a reality.”
Adds That final paragraph I mentioned
Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern said on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today that the Heathrow route was over-rated. “People have voted [against Heathrow] with their feet, and large numbers have gone to Paris, gone to Amsterdam – gone to other hubs, and that in my view is something that Shannon should be looking at.”