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Adams calls on Kenny to stop Aer Lingus sell-off

27 January, 2015 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD today called on the Taoiseach to block the sell-off of Aer Lingus.

Gerry Adams said:

"Direct air services and air route connectivity are absolutely vital for investment, tourism and business in Ireland.

"Protecting Ireland's air links with Europe and the US, which are hugely important in terms of inward investment, exports and business, is the responsibility of the Government.

"Tens of thousands of jobs across this island rely on key global air connections

"Sinn Fein was opposed, tooth and nail, to the original sell-off of Aer Lingus by Fianna Fáil.

"Reports that Aer Lingus is now recommending the sale of the airline to International Consolidated Airlines Group (AIG) is a major concern."

Speaking in the Dáil Mr Adams said this could not be done without the Taoiseach's approval.

"You should not approve this deal", the Sinn Féin Leader told Mr Kenny.

Mr Adams said a likely result of any sell-off would be major job losses and the end of important air connections, including the strategically important Heathrow slots.

He said:

"It is reported that any sell-off would see senior executives at Aer Lingus earn around €30m from their bonus share scheme.

"So, the Government again faces a choice, of rewarding wealthy businessmen at the expense of Irish citizens or of defending Irish national interests.

"Any proposed takeover of Aer Lingus by IAG represents significant risks to accessibility for both business and tourism.

"It also represents a significant risk to the security of employment for Irish workers employed directly or indirectly by Aer Lingus.

"Let’s remember that it is due in no small part  to the efforts of these workers that Aer Lingus is the successful, profitable company that it is.

"The Government now needs to stand by these workers.

"Current direct employment levels at Aer Lingus must be maintained. This is hugely important for the local economies of the regions concerned.

"Aer Lingus directly employs 3,900 people. There are huge fears for Aer Lingus workers in Dublin, Shannon and Cork airports in the event of any sell-off.

"Following an IAG takeover, it is believed that the majority of executive and senior decision-making posts would be transferred to London.

"The State, through its stake in Aer Lingus, has the potential to be an advocate for sustainable development of Aer Lingus in the interest of its customers, its workers, and the island as a whole.

"IAG do not have these interests at heart. Like any private multinational conglomerate, IAG will seek the maximum profit from its share.

"The Government must put Irish strategic interests first and commit clearly now to opposing any sell-off of Aer Lingus."

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