Transport Minister must reject Ryanair bid
Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald TD has today restated Sinn Féin’s opposition to the sell-off of the State’s 25% share in Aer Lingus and has called on the Transport Minister to reject the Ryanair offer.
Deputy McDonald said:
“Sinn Féin is opposed to the sale of the government’s 25% stake in Aer Lingus. The airline is of strategic importance to the State and is vital to maintain the island’s connectivity with the rest of the world.
“Ryanair’s all-cash offer for the government’s stake in the airline is set against two similar offers previously rejected by government and the European Commission. The British Competition Commission announced this week its intention to investigate Ryanair’s 29.8 per cent stake in Aer Lingus due to competition concerns. The irony of course is that Fianna Fáil sold off the original stake in the airline based on an argument that State-ownership was anti-competitive. If Ryanair’s bid is successful Aer Lingus will be run on the basis of an anti-competitive private monopoly.
“Ryanair has forcefully stated its opposition to Aer Lingus making any contribution to the company’s pension deficit. The government, as a major shareholder, needs to ensure the company delivers on its commitments to current and former workers’ pension rights and entitlements. On-going negotiations between the company, unions and former workers must be supported by government not undermined.
“Let’s not forget Aer Lingus recently recorded a threefold increase on its pre-tax profits for 2011. This is a profitable company that can and should meet its obligations. It is of strategic importance to the people of this island. This latest Ryanair inspired brouhaha is further evidence of why Fine Gael and Labour, on behalf of the Irish people, need to retain the State’s 25% stake in Aer Lingus.”