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Government to blame as Aer Lingus under threat

5 October, 2006

Sinn Féin's Transport spokesperson Seán Crowe TD and Dáil Leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, in a joint statement following Ryanair's threat to obtain at least a majority of the former national airline shares, have made clear that responsibility for this debacle rests with the Government. Deputy Crowe pointed out that this was an inevitability following the Government's decision to throw Aer Lingus to 'the wolves of private capital and rival airlines'.

The Dublin South-West TD, who vehemently opposed privatisation from the very beginning, said: "Although many people may express shock or dismay at this announcement by Ryanair the fact remains that such a move was inevitable. Sinn Féin repeatedly warned of the dangers of Aer Lingus being thrown to the wolves of private capital and rival airlines.

"If RyanAir is successful in this take-over bid then this will have major repercussions for Aer Lingus employees. RyanAir has a notoriously poor industrial relations record and an attitude of contempt to employees who attempt to stand up for themselves. With such a takeover I fear for the future of employee job security and working conditions.

"The options for passengers of greater convenience associated with Aer Lingus may be lost such as arrival at central airports, designated seating and fewer prospects of flight cancellations.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, the party's Dáil Leader, described the notion of anti-union boss Michael O'Leary 'in the pilot's seat at Aer Lingus' as utterly repulsive.

The Cavan-Monaghan TD said: "The thought of Michael O'Leary, who built his airline on the back of state supporters only to bite the hand that fed him, in the pilot's seat at Aer Lingus is utterly repulsive to people across Ireland.

"We need an integrated all-Ireland transport policy with a national airline under democratic control and in public ownership. We do not another yellow pack airline with a track record of customer complaints and abuse of worker's rights.

"The Government's privatisation fetish will have substantial ramifications for the country's strategic economic interest. With a RyanAir take-over the focus will be on putting euros in Michael O'Leary's bank account rather than looking after the strategic economic interests of the Irish people."


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