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Aer Lingus on brink of chaos as O’Leary brings his stake up to 25 percent

29 November, 2006

As Ryanair purchased a further 31 million shares in Aer Lingus yesterday bringing their total stake to over 25 per cent, Sinn Féin Transport spokesperson Seán Crowe TD said the airline is on the brink of chaos because the government refused to invest at the opportune time.

He said, "The government refused to invest in Aer Lingus at the opportune time and now the airline is on the brink of chaos with pilots and employees scrambling to purchase and hold onto shares to attempt to secure their employment future.

"There is genuine concern about job security and the long-term future flight path Aer Lingus will take. With a ruthless chief executive like Michael O'Leary at the helm, job security will be under considerable threat and worker rights will inevitably be trampled on."

"Sinn Féin has been vehemently opposed to the privatisation of our former national carrier from day one. This sell-off of the people's former national airline was a disaster from the perspective of Ireland and its interests. All of my protestations fell on deaf government ears.

"If Aer Lingus is good enough for a shrewd and highly successful businessman like Michael O'Leary to invest in then it beggars belief why this Government failed to cough up the €400 million required investment in Aer Lingus, in the context that it has already pledged to invest €34.4 billion in Transport 21.

"We have heard claims by Minister Martin Cullen that the Governments stake of at least 25 per cent in Aer Lingus as its so-called golden, strategic or blocking share will ensure the national interest. However Ryanair now possess a similar golden share and their sole interest is making money for their shareholders, not the national interest. This privatisation disgrace has been a betrayal of the Irish people." Críoch

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