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Government guilty of 'gross dereliction of duty' - Crowe

29 August, 2006

Sinn Féin Transport spokesperson Seán Crowe TD, has described the proposed sale of Aer Lingus as a ‘gross dereliction of duty by any sovereign government’ and reiterated Sinn Féin’s support for any attempts by Aer Lingus workers to prevent the sale. He went on to point out that the Government has still not responded to issues raised by Sinn Féin about the implications of European Court of Justice rulings on Government’s holding ‘blocking shares’ to protect the national interest as outlined by Minister Cullen.


The Dublin South-West TD said: “The privatisation of Aer Lingus hands control of the company over to private capital and abandons it to market forces. It is an act that can only be described as a gross dereliction of duty by any sovereign government.


“Sinn Féin has been to the fore of opposing the sale in the Dáil; in Sinn Féin motions opposing the sale of the airline passed at local authorities across the state, and at pickets and public meetings. We are absolutely committed to continuing our opposition, and would like to reiterate our support for the workers of Aer Lingus in any attempt they make to prevent the sale of the people’s airline.


“The Government has also neglected to respond to questions raised by Sinn Féin in our submission to the Oireachtas Committee on Transport on the impact of European Court of Justice rulings on Government’s holding ‘blocking shares’, such as the one Minister Cullen says the State’s proposed shareholding of 25.1% can serve as.


“In a decision handed down on the 13th of May, 2003 (Ref: C-463/00 and C-98/01), the European Court of Justice ruled illegal the holding of a ‘golden share’ by the British government in the airport operator BAA, owner of Gatwick and Heathrow. The same judgement ruled illegal the possession of ‘golden shares’ by the Spanish government in a range of companies.


“The shares in BAA held by the British Government empowered it to withhold consent on certain company operations including the winding-up of the company or disposal of an airport. The Court found that in both cases this amounted to an infringement of the principle of the free movement of capital and declared the ‘golden shares’ illegal. Has the Government investigated the possible implications of these judgements for Aer Lingus?”



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