Over one thousand former Dublin airport workers have announced that they will not be giving their vote to Mary Davis on October 27th. This statement came after Davis allegedly failed to adequately answer questions relating to the closure of SR Technics in 2009 while she was serving on the board of the Dublin Airport Authority.
This particularly contentious industry closing is still sparking debate and many workers feel that the company’s closing was partially enabled by the actions of the DAA. Former employees believe that the DAA’s decision to buy out the leases on the SRT hangars at Dublin airport, for an alleged €20m, helped clear the way for the company to pull out. SR Technics’s sudden exit caused outrage among workers who believe they were unfairly denied the chance to negotiate pay cuts, or to examine other cost cutting measures with the company. Furthermore, the aviation maintenance firm departed without addressing the €26m pension deficit which caused workers strikes in mid-2009. The company also caused offence by offering their former employees redundancy terms barely above the minimum legal limit.
With increasing scrutiny being placed on all the presidential candidates it is not surprising that Davis’s past involvement with several state boards is coming into question. Representatives of former STR employees lodged several questions with her office last week asking Ms Davis to confirm when she first heard that the faltering firm was pulling out, and how much the DAA paid to buy back the hangars. They have also asked her to explain her position towards the closure at the time, and how she voted on the hangar issue. Responding in a recent statement to the press, Ms Davis said during her time on the board of the DAA she acted with diligence and integrity. However many workers are not satisfied with her answers.
During a week which has seen Mary Davis call for greater personal and professional scrutiny of all presidential candidates, some feel she is not acting with the fairness and transparency that she is advocating. In a recent press release Davis called for the examination of candidates previous work and professional associations. She also states that, ‘transparency is important and in my own case I have dealt with each and every question put to me, and have asked other candidates to provide a similar degree of transparency’. However, with Ms Davis currently sitting second to last in the latest election poll it is unclear weather her new strategy will boost her standings or if she can weather the storm of her quango controversy.