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short-haul flights

No domestic flight ban on the cards for Ireland as Taoiseach says we're not the same as France

Domestic flights are very important to some of Ireland’s most remote areas, says Varadkar.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has indicated that Ireland will not be following in France’s footsteps in banning short flights that can be replaced by train journeys under 2.5 hours. 

Speaking at Bloom in the Phoenix Park today, he said that domestic flights are necessary in Ireland.

“We have domestic flights in Ireland, between Dublin and Kerry and that’s entirely commercial and there’s one between Dublin and Donegal, and that’s a PSO,” he said. 

Somewhere like Donegal “is relatively remote”, he said, stating there’s no train service and no motorway.

“It’s not the same as France. They have been building high speed trains for 100 years, they have underground systems, motorway systems. It’s a country that’s been wealthy for 100 years – we’ve only been wealthy for 20 or 30,” said Varadkar. 

Cutting short-haul flights that can be taken using other forms of transport has been the focus of some calls to help reduce the sector’s heavy burden on the environment.

Responding to a question by The Journal this week, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary criticised France’s short haul flight ban, claiming that exceptions to the ban for connecting flights would mean that “not a single flight” would be cancelled.

Varadkar said today that there parts of Ireland and our islands where that air service is really important, stating that some people connect to Dublin to receive cancer treatment.

He said that is sometimes missed from the argument.

Ireland is not the same as a mainland European country, said the Taoiseach, stating “we’re a very dispersed population”.

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