The Oireachtas Transport Committee has urged Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to appoint a mediator to help resolve issues of “urgent concern” for aviation workers.
It comes as air traffic controllers have claimed that the system is in crisis and that staffing issues have led to an “increased risk of an air traffic incident or accident”.
The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) sent a letter from 160 controllers to Mr Ryan last week, claiming that over-reliance on overtime to run the service had become a safety issue.
The crisis meant that “continuity of the provision of Air Traffic Control service can no longer be guaranteed”, the controllers wrote.
In a letter to Mr Ryan this afternoon, chair of the Oireachtas Transport Committee TD Kieran O’Donnell wrote that the committee understands that “there are industrial relations and internal disputes procedures ongoing to address the issues that have been raised”.
“In the event that these procedures do not lead to a satisfactory resolution, the committee strongly recommends that an independent mediator be appointed to move the process forward as a matter of urgency.
“The committee suggests Kieran Mulvey, or another such qualified and experienced labour relations professional,” he wrote.
Mr Mulvey is the chief executive of the Labour Relations Commission.
Mr O’Donnell also added that disruption to air traffic control services must be avoided as international travel resumes post-pandemic.
“These issues are of urgent concern, particularly the operational matters raised by air traffic controllers. As the Irish aviation industry begins its post-Covid recovery, any disruption to air traffic control services must be avoided,” he wrote.
The suggestion to write the letter was made at a private meeting of the committee yesterday by Senator Timmy Dooley, with the proposal seconded by TD Joe Carey and Senator Jerry Buttimer.
Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan’s exclusive take on the day’s news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.Internet Explorer Channel Network