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6 September 2007 Edition

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Sinn Féin seeks political alliance in opposition to withdrawal of

Sinn Féin National Chairperson and MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has said Sinn Féin has agreed to write to the leaders of all opposition parties in a bid to form a political alliance against the withdrawal of the Shannon to Heathrow route. McDonald was speaking on Thursday last after she led a party delegation including Martin Ferris TD and Maurice Quinlivan to meet with the Shannon Action Group to discuss the impact of Aer Lingus’ decision to withdraw its Shannon to Heathrow route.
She said, “We had a positive and constructive meeting with Shannon Action Group at which we agreed to make contact with the leaders of all the opposition parties in a bid to form a political alliance against the withdrawal of the Shannon to Heathrow route.
“I want to commend the Shannon Action Group who have re-energised the struggle for the Mid Western region which has been suffering due to Government failure to create proper balanced regional development.”
Also speaking after the meeting Martin Ferris said Transport Minister Noel Dempsey has serious questions to answer in relation to the advice he has received from the Attorney General concerning the retention of the Shannon to Heathrow route.
He said, “The Government told us, prior to the privatisation of Aer Lingus, that the golden share that they were to retain would be enough to ensure that the national interest is maintained. It is unacceptable for Noel Dempsey to now tell us that the Attorney General advises that a majority shareholder vote would not be enough to ensure the retention of the Shannon to Heathrow route.
“The Minister has serious questions to answer in relation to this. Did he seek the advice of the Attorney General before the privatisation? And, if not — why not?
“If he did seek the advice of the Attorney General, why did he proceed with the privatisation in the knowledge that the national interest could not be guaranteed by the retention of the golden share? And why did he tell the Dáil that the golden share would guarantee the national interest.”
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