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Minister Cullen's PD colours beginning to emerge - Crowe

21 April, 2005

Sinn Féin Transport spokesperson, Seán Crowe has said Transport Minister, Martin Martin Cullen's PD colours are beginning to emerge." Deputy Crowe was speaking today after it emerged that Minister for Transport, Mr Martin Cullen, supports the privatisation of most of Aer Lingus.

Deputy Crowe said, "It comes as no surprise to me the news that Martin Cullen wants to privatise most of Aer Lingus. His PD colours are beginning to emerge. This is the same Minister that caused the E-voting debacle which cost the state over €50 million. Everybody told him that it wouldn't work but he seemed to think that he knew best. Now he seems to have that attitude again.

"Aer Lingus is a very profitable airline. The claim that there is a need for a partial sell off to finance the development of the airline is a dubious one. The fear is that it is being used as an excuse to advance the privatisation agenda of sections of this Government. Any partial sale of Aer Lingus will inevitably lead to the total privatisation of the State airline.

"To allow the state airline to fall into the hands of a private business would be foolish. We cannot under estimate the value of having a national carrier. We are an island economy on the edge of Europe. Our ability to contact and trade with the rest of the world should not be at the whim of external or private enterprises. We need a State airline, a national carrier. Aer Lingus is successfully fulfilling that duty and the State should look at it as an asset to invest in rather than a burden to divest itself of."

On the issue of a second terminal for Dublin airport Deputy Crowe said, "Sinn Féin fully supports the development of a second terminal at Dublin airport as it is crucial to the overall development of the airport as a whole." ENDS

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