1 June 2015 Edition
Aer Lingus sale a bad deal for Ireland
‘IAG have no interest in Ireland and the Government have failed to stand up for the interests of the country, instead looking to make a quick profit as an election looms’ – Dessie Ellis TD
AS AN PHOBLACHT goes to print, it looks certain that the state’s 25% share in Aer Lingus is to be sold off by Fine Gael and Labour for €335million to the International Airlines Group (IAG). Fianna Fáil had sold off 75% of the airline in 2006.
It is reported the sale was finally agreed after a number of Labour Party deputies (who had previously expressed opposition to the move) performed a U-turn and backed the privatisation plan.
There were angry exchanges in the Dáil on Wednesday 27 May as the Government refused to answer questions on details of the sale. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has expressed serious concern over the move.
The news is causing particular concern for jobs and also Ireland’s transport connectivity. Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe says the deal includes a seven-year guarantee that flights between Dublin and Heathrow will be maintained.
Sinn Féin Transport spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD, whose constituency of Dublin North-West includes thousands of constituents who work or have jobs dependent on nearby Dublin Airport, said short-term commitments to IAG were of no use to Ireland:
“IAG have no interest in Ireland and the Government have failed to stand up for the interests of the country, instead looking to make a quick profit as an election looms.”
Dessie Ellis said commitments by IAG to retain jobs ring hollow when the buying of Iberian Airlines by IAG resulted in thousands of job losses.