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Government must use state share in Aer Lingus to fight for retention of Irish jobs – Ferris

15 September, 2008


Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris has called on the Government to use the State's share in Aer Lingus to fight for the retention of Irish jobs at the former state airline. Deputy Ferris was speaking today as speculation grows that Aer Lingus management is looking to cut 1,300 Irish jobs in cost cutting measures.

He said, "In 2006, ahead of the privatisation of our former national airline, Sinn Féin joined with others to highlight the consequences of privatisation. We warned that under private ownership the economic interests of the state would no longer have any influence on the airline's policy and that workers' rights and entitlements and even their very jobs would be under threat.

"Now, just a couple of years later, the vital Shannon Heathrow route has been abandoned and many Irish jobs are under threat at the company.

"However, at the time of the privatisation the Government told us that the retention of a 25.1% share in the company would guarantee the safeguarding of the State's strategic economic interest. Despite this they failed to intervene and prevent the abandonment of the Shannon Heathrow route.

"There is widespread concern that the end of the Shannon Heathrow route and the potential job losses at Shannon Airport are part of an overall plan by Aer Lingus Management to pull out of Shannon altogether. This would be a huge blow to the local economy in the mid western region.

"I am calling on the Government to do what they said they would do when Aer Lingus was privatised. They must use the state share in Aer Lingus to fight for the retention of Irish jobs in the company and to safeguard the state's strategic economic interests." ENDS

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