Sean Fleming TD has stated that the Government must reject outright the take-over bid for Aer Lingus by IAG as it is not in the national interest or in the interest of the company.
Deputy Fleming, Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform, pointed out that a current ownership structure involving the private sector and the Government has restored the company to profitability and which has recently come through a very difficult time having restructured the company’s pension scheme.
With all this work done by the existing owners the company is now heading for much more increased profitability and more business in the coming years.
This will ensure connectivity between Ireland and Heathrow Airport in London. In addition Aer Lingus has increased and improved its flight schedules resulting in bringing more tourists into Ireland from many countries.
It is essential that we have competition on the route between Ireland and London. The existing partnership between the Government and the private sector will ensure profitability into the future and continued strong employment in the company.
Deputy Fleming has said there is actually a strong case at this time for the Government to increase its share-holding in Aer Lingus. The improved benefits of a new arrangement will benefit the country in the future. The Government could increase its share-holding through the Government’s own Irish Strategic Investment Fund which has €6 billion for investment in the Irish economy.
Any talk by the Government of getting cast-iron guarantees when shares are sold is nonsense. Everyone knows there is no such thing. When the shares are sold they are gone.
Finally, Deputy Fleming warned that any Government that would seriously consider selling off the remaining Government shares in Aer Lingus is a Government that would have no problem selling off Irish Water at the first available opportunity.