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Sell-off of Aer Lingus Shameful – Adams

28 May, 2015 - by Gerry Adams

Speaking in the Dáil today Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams accused Labour TDs of “putting the interests of a multi-national company before the needs and interests of the Irish people.”

The Sinn Féin leader was speaking during the Dáil debate on Aer Lingus.

Teachta Adams said:

“Sinn Féin opposed the original sell off of Aer Lingus by the previous Fianna Fáil-led Government. We oppose the latest move by Fine Gael and Labour to sell off the State's remaining 25% stake in the company.

“Ireland is a small island nation and our economy needs consistent, secure air access. No Government should jeopardise this by throwing away the links that Aer Lingus provides.

“This State, through its 25% stake in the company, 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.

“However, like any private multinational conglomerate, IAG will only seek the maximum profit.

“This Government has, once again, failed to put Irish strategic interests first. The State will now have no say whatsoever in the future of Aer Lingus.

“A few short years down the line, it will be very clear to everyone that we have lost a vital aviation asset forever. We will lose certainty, connectivity and jobs. Ultimately Aer Lingus will disappear.

“This is a profitable company. Major growth is planned in its long haul routes. It has been buying new aircraft. It doesn’t need IAG.

“Of course, senior management at the airline will benefit by millions of euro from any sell-off, but Aer Lingus workers have been given no guarantees in relation to compulsory redundancies or outsourcing. Trade unions at Aer Lingus envisage 1,200 job losses as a result of this sell-off.

“An internal report commissioned by Aer Lingus has recommended slashing costs by cutting 10% of pilot’s jobs, 10% of cabin crew jobs, and 25% of catering staff. The Nyras report was presented to Aer Lingus management a month ago and represents a major blueprint for job cuts.

“It confirms the worst fears of Aer Lingus workers. Yet the Government claims to know nothing about it. So we have a situation where the Government, despite its claims to the contrary, has received no guarantees whatsoever

“Fine Gael is an adherent of neoliberal ideology. It believes in dismantling state assets. It believes in privatisation across the board. Look at Irish Water. Fine Gael would sell its granny if that suited the market.

“And what of the Labour Party? What of the famous motion passed at the Labour Party conference? No guarantees have been given. Apart from Michael McNamara, where are those Labour TDs who said they would oppose this sell-off tooth and nail? As Shakespeare would say – ‘full of sound and fury signifying nothing’.

“Fine Gael and Labour are now finishing the work begun by Fianna Fáil. That is shameful.

“Those TDs who sponsored the motion at the Labour Party Conference aren’t stupid. They know it is wrong to sell of Aer Lingus. They also know that the terms and conditions of this sell-off do not match the motion they sponsored. They also know that what is on the table does not help the thousands of deferred Aer Lingus pension holders who have lost millions from their pension scheme.

“The vote today allows them to make a stand. Unless their party conference motion was all about throwing shapes that is what they should do. They should vote against the sell-off of Aer Lingus. If they vote for this sell-off, they are putting the interest of a multi-national company before the needs and interests of the Irish people.” 

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