By Pierce O’Reilly
Thousands of Irish people in the tri-state area were fuming with Aer Lingus at the weekend after they were left paperless on Saturday morning.
The weekly regional newspapers and the national daily papers usually arrive on the Aer Lingus Friday afternoon flight. However, last weekend, because of the one-day strike, the papers didn’t arrive on time.
The Aer Lingus strike also left some 20,000 customers outraged, with their travel plans in disarray. The stoppage went ahead despite a last-minute intervention by the National implementation Body, which is seeking to have the matter referred to the Labour Court.
Eddie Mallen, proprietor of Tri-Edy’s Deli on Katonah Avenue in the Bronx, said he’d had to turn away over a thousand dissatisfied customers.
"Our till receipts are way down today," he said at 3 p.m. "We’ve had people coming from as far away as Stamford and Jersey and they’re livid that the papers aren’t here."
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Eason’s, which provides the papers to the retail outlets all over the tri-state area, had talks with Delta in a last-ditch effort to get the papers to the U.S. on Friday evening. But, according to Mallen, the airline refused to carry them.
"It’s obvious that they didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes," he said of Delta. "That’s why they decided to stand by their companions."
Tri-Edy’s deli sells on average 1,400 Irish newspapers every weekend at $3 apiece. The Kerryman is the top seller, with over 70 copies. Next is the Western people and then the Clare Champion. Chris O’Connor, who is from County Longford, has being buying the Longford leader for the last 20 years. When she arrived at Tri-Edy’s deli on Saturday afternoon, she could barely hide her pique.
"I’m obviously annoyed," she said. "I’ll have to make another journey back on Monday to see if they’re in by then."
Some shop owners in New York who sell Irish products are reeling in the wake of the discovery of foot-and-mouth disease in the South.
"We’re going through a tough period right now and the last thing we wanted was an Aer Lingus strike," Mallen said.
The foot-and-mouth crisis in Ireland hasn’t affected the Irish delis yet, according to Mallen. However, he fears some supplies may be hard come by in the next few weeks.