Aer Lingus pensioners to get nothing but two fingers from the government – McDonald
Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD questioned the Tánaiste on her decision to back the sale of Aer Lingus, given the vulnerable position this sale will leave the Irish state as well as the lack of guarantees to Aer Lingus workers who have suffered reductions in their pensions.
Deputy McDonald said:
“Tánaiste, today you intend to railroad through this house the sale of a strategic state asset – our 25% stake in Aer Lingus. You are asking us to sell off our interest in a profitable company with cash reserves and other assets that actually exceed the proposed sale price.
“That Fine Gael would agree to this is no surprise – they desperately want an election slush fund to buy up votes with more tax cuts for the wealthy. But for the Labour Party to sign up to this fire sale is truly incredible.
“In 2006, Fianna Fáil sold off 75% of Aer Lingus and the Labour Party vigorously opposed it. Your back bench TDs were once among the staunchest defenders of the state’s interest in the airline. But like so many long standing Labour Party policies that was quickly dropped once you got into bed with Fine Gael.
“You are now supporting a deal that would give bonanza pay-outs of €6.3 million to top executives but nothing to address deferred payments to struggling pensioners. How does that tally with the ‘national interest’? How do you convince people we are in a stronger position after this sale? Now Aer Lingus pensioners will get nothing apart from two fingers from the government.
“You can’t explain away the central contradiction of your position. You want to go in with a wrecking ball and demolish a strategic asset that will weaken the position of the government, the state and the people. IAG commitments on connectivity and jobs are only short term.We will still be an island nation in seven years’ time.”