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Aer Lingus - Sinn Féin calls for EU intervention

9 October, 2006

After writing to European Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes in a joint letter Sinn Féin Transport Spokesperson Seán Crowe TD and Mary Lou MacDonald MEP urged the EU to step in to investigate the attempted takeover of Aer Lingus by its main competitor Ryanair which they believe is in contravention of the spirit and the letter of European Competition Law.

Deputy Crowe stated, "While the recent developments involving Ryanair buying 19.3 per cent of shares in Aer Lingus is worrying, it hardly comes as a surprise. With this government's complicity our former national carrier has been flaunted on the stock market and it was inevitable that ruthless big-business would step in to attempt to purchase the lion's share. Such a move by Ryanair would result in a private aviation monopoly in this state, making a mockery of claims by proponents of privatisation that the ideology brings competition and benefits to all. It would appear to us that this is a calculated move by Ryanair to take out competition; however they are just acting as big-businesses do in the market. The blame lies with the government, and the buck should stop there."

Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou MacDonald said, "The creation of such a monopoly in private hands, may well have detrimental consequences for Ireland's strategic economic interests as an island nation and repercussions for job security and worker conditions for current Aer Lingus employees. Ryanair have been notorious in their anti-union stance and providing a low quality of service. People need to look beyond the 'cheap fare' and look at the broader picture. With the sale of Aer Lingus and the ensuing fiasco this government have once again highlighted their incompetence and have shown that their fetish with privatisation is doomed to failure from the point of view of our island's interests and those of Aer Lingus employees and the travelling public." ENDS

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