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Government commitment to Cork and Dublin routes cannot be relied on - Doherty

7 October, 2007

Responding to the announcement by Transport Minister Noel Dempsey’s that he intends placing two new Directors onto the board of Aer Lingus so as to protect the Cork and Dublin routes, Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty has described the move as an admission of responsibility in the current fiasco.

Deputy Doherty said:

“Minister Dempsey’s commitment to the Aer Lingus Cork and Dublin routes will be of little comfort to the people of Shannon.

“The Ministers rhetoric of ‘if we knew then what we know now’ does not address the current crisis for the Shannon region. It is also a case of selective memory as Sinn Féin TDs flagged up the possible threat of withdrawel of routes during a number of Dáil debates.

“These concerns were acknowledged by Ministers and were followed by commitments to ensure the interests of the people would be paramount hence the government retention of a 25% shareholding.

“I also question why the government has stated they cannot intervene in the airlines current decision on Shannon but can do so with Cork and Dublin.

“Minister Dempsey is clearly accepting that government can intervene but in this instance has chosen not to.

“The consistent line has been that government will not interfere with the business of a private entity even when it holds a 25% shareholding.

 “Why, considering previous commitments by his Ministerial colleagues last year during the privatisation debate of the airline, should the Irish people believe his government’s latest pledge with regard to the airlines future?

“Sinn Féin welcomes commitments by government to safeguard the connectivity of the island however recent experience has taught us that such commitments cannot be relied upon.” CRÍOCH

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