Flight times must be about safety not greater profit – Ellis

September 30, 2013

Sinn Fein transport spokesperson, Dessie Ellis TD, has welcomed the decision by MEPs to reject the extension of maximum working hours for pilots.
Deputy Ellis said:
“I have met with pilots and members of the Irish Airline Pilots Association and it is clear that the conditions experienced by many pilots is not conducive to the observation of the best safety standards.
“If we were to make the job of pilots even harder by extending maximum flight hours I would have been very worried for the potential consequences. Pilots already work long hours, with large periods of on-call time, which dramatically damages their work-life balance.
“A UK study found an alarming 43% of pilots have fallen asleep at their flight deck. These plans could have seen pilots operating for 16 hours straight in a day shift. It is well documented that working hours of this length diminish greatly the ability of pilots to do their job and stay alert.
“We should not be playing with lives here. Any flight time policy should be based on conclusive research and, so far, that research shows pilots are already working longer hours than they should be. When you are transporting so many passengers safety must come before greater profit.”

Rural transport services to be protected


Sinn Féin deputies Dessie Ellis and Michael Colreavy today met with representatives of the National Transport Authority at the Joint Committee on Transport and Communications on the issue of restructuring plans for the Rural Transport Programme.

Speaking following the meeting Deputy Ellis said:

“Funding needs to be ensured for rural transport for the services to be properly utilised by the community. If there are savings to be made it must be at an administrative level and there must not be a cut to the direct provision of services.

“Those who currently run the rural transport services deserve praise fSor the work that they do and the dedication of local people has been an essential factor for these services over the years.

“I also welcome that there will be proper regulation of the rural hackney scheme, where there will be no displacement of other operators and community agreement will be sought.”

Commenting after the meeting Deputy Colreavy said:

“Rural transport is a major issue for many communities, especially those in the north-west region.

“Isolation in rural areas can be a major problem and often the rural transport services are the only means some people have of getting from one place to another.

“It is essential that the National Transport Authority ensures that services are maintained in rural areas and that communities do not suffer from cutbacks.”