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Aer Lingus sale an act of economic sabotage -- Crowe

2 October, 2006


Speaking as Aer Lingus shares are formally admitted to the Official Lists of the Irish and British Stock Exchanges, Sinn Féin Transport spokesperson Seán Crowe TD expressed his regret that the Government has decided to 'push ahead with this unpopular decision despite numerous negative forebodings'.

In a recent Dáil question to Minister for Transport Martin Cullen Deputy Crowe was informed that the Minister "expects the state to make around €200 million from selling off the majority of its shares in Aer Lingus."

The Dublin South-West TD said: "This is obviously a generous estimate however as other reports have signalled that the state, essentially the people as taxpayers, will recoup only €142 million from the sale of our national airline. The fact that this government have sold off our national airline for roughly the price of a couple of airplanes is nothing short of scandalous.

"Despite government and right-wing media spin, this privatisation of Aer Lingus has been an act of economic sabotage. The only real winners will be those international investors who swooped to invest in Aer Lingus at a knock down price and who will inevitably sell-off shares to make a quick profit.

Aer Lingus' new investors will not be concerned with the strategic interests of our island nation, nor will they be preoccupied with the future of employees. They will be driven by profit and profit alone.

"This move by Fianna Fáil and the PDs makes no economic sense. As a profitable airline the Government had a golden opportunity to invest in Aer Lingus but instead initially used the pretext of being unable to invest under EU law to dodge the issue until this falsehood was comprehensively exposed.

"Aer Lingus has performed extremely well over the last number of years in an extremely volatile market. Our former national airline made just under €180 million profit in the last two years, while it has been essentially sold off for around the same amount by this Government. All the sacrifices of past and current Aer Lingus employees and support from the travelling public have accounted for nothing as the Government have sold off our national airline for a song."

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