Sinn Féin and Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has said that it is not acceptable that businesses would be put before consumers after comments by Deirdre Clune MEP at the weekend that suggested passengers on cancelled flights should take vouchers over cash refunds and that passengers must consider the “viability” of airlines.

Teachta Crowe said:

“The comments by Deirdre Clune, Fine Gael MEP for Ireland South, at the weekend came as a shock to me. While there are questions about the long-term viability of airlines, the consumer and their hard-won rights must come first at all times.

“Put simply, a passenger on a cancelled flight cannot pay their rent with an airline voucher or use it to put food on the family table. Their financial situation may well be vastly different to when they originally purchased the flight, with their income drastically reduced or their job even gone as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions or its economic fallout.

“While it may come naturally to those in Fine Gael to put big business before the consumer, there must be a recognition now that vouchers are not an acceptable form of refund to consumers and cash must be the first offer to any disadvantaged passenger.”