Cork needs IAG like a hole in the head – McLellan
Speaking in the Dáil this evening, Cork Sinn Féin TD Sandra McLellan spoke out against the proposed sale of Aer Lingus to IAG, citing the potential ruination of regional airports and particularly Cork Airport.
Deputy McLellan said:
“This Government’s decision to sell its share in Aer Lingus is a short sighted move which will create years of uncertainty and economic difficulties for the state. It will create uncertainty for the thousands of workers who work as part of Aer Lingus or who work peripherally to their operations in Ireland.
“There are major questions about the assurances this Government have said will be given and if they can be enforced or fulfilled.
“IAG’s track record shows that providing jobs or supporting the countries from which its airlines features nowhere in their priorities. It is therefore, up to this Government to protect the state’s interests.
“Regional airports like Cork have been promised investment but this does not seem likely. We do not trust the commitments made by IAG given their track record, nor do we trust this government’s spin. Indeed, the manner itself in which this debate is being rushed through the house has instilled no faith from the opposition in this whole process.
“Aer Lingus has had great success in the smaller market of regional airports. IAG has only made a commitment to continue Cork’s Paris and Amsterdam routes through Aer Lingus, which without a sell off would still be the case. Cork needs IAG like a hole in the head.
“In 7 years’ time, will there be any slot for Cork to Heathrow? Willie Walsh has made it clear he wants slots for Asia and South America. That’s where the profit is and that is what drives IAG - not Ireland’s interest and not regional airports’ interests like that of Cork City.”