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Aer Lingus sell off is bad news for company and country

7 July, 2006

Dublin Sinn Féin Councillor Larry O’Toole has described government plans to privatise Aer Lingus as a disgrace.  He said ‘the sell off of Aer Lingus will allow a small number of wealthy individuals to get rich while putting a state asset, crucial for Ireland’s continued economic development, at risk.  He said that Aer Lingus workers and former employees are now very worried for the future.’ 


Councillor O’Toole said:


“Aer Lingus is a state asset and nota state liability. Last year it increased passenger numbers by 1 million to 8 million and produced an operating profit of more than €72 million. Today it has almost 80 routes. Aer Lingus has been a crucial asset in this state’s economic growth in recent years.  We should be fighting tooth and nail for Aer Lingus to remain in public ownership.


“This government could not wait to sell off its majority share in the company.  And it is supported in this position by the Labour Party’s coalition partner, Fine Gael.  Sinn Féin is opposed to privatisation.  We will continue to work with the unions to try and stop this sale from going ahead.


“The Government says it will retain strategic shares. But there will be absolutely nothing to stop speculators coming in, buying up the company and disposing of it as they please. They will not be concerned with the strategic transport needs of this country. They will not be concerned with maintaining direct routes from Ireland to destinations across Europe and the United States. They will be concerned only with the bottom line and if the short-term stripping of the company guarantees them the return they want then it is their interests, and not the long-term


“Sinn Féin doesn't want any more privatisation debacles such as Eircom where hundreds of thousands of people suffered financially and a small number of wealthy speculators made a fortune.  The result was that Eircom was asset stripped and this state’s telecommunications infrastructure has been run down.  This state is now far behind the north of Ireland in the roll out of broadband, something which has a negative impact on business job creation.


“Aer Lingus should remain in state ownership.  It is a valuable state asset and it should not be sold off for a quick buck.”ENDS



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