Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport Timmy Dooley is calling on the Transport Minister to clarify the Government’s position on IAG’s bid to take over Aer Lingus.  The airline’s Board confirmed that it has received an offer of €2.55 per share, which it says it is considering.  Deputy Dooley has reiterated his calls for the Government to use its 25% stake in the company to block the buy-out in order to protect connectivity and jobs and to maintain a long term strategic interest in the airline.

Deputy Dooley commented, “This latest share bid may offer more money but it does nothing to protect the valuable Heathrow slots, it doesn’t give any guarantees on job security for the thousands of Aer Lingus workers at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports and it changes nothing about the importance of retaining a strategic interest in the airline.  The Government must ensure that it acts in the best interests of the country when it discusses this offer, rather than focusing solely on the short term financial gain.

“This takeover poses a serious threat to Ireland’s future connectivity.  Any attempt to redistribute Aer Lingus’ valuable Heathrow slots would seriously undermine the airline, and the country’s connectivity as it would see our access to Europe, the US, Asia and Australia vastly restricted.  This would have major implications for our export trade, as well as reducing our tourism potential.  It is imperative that these slots remain in Aer Lingus’ ownership to protect our national strategic interests.

“The very reason the Fianna Fáil-led government maintained a 25% stake in Aer Lingus was to ensure that Ireland’s connectivity would be maintained and protected, and I would urge Minister Donohoe to uphold the principle of that position.  Even if assurances on the Heathrow slots are made ahead of any sale, these commitments could be rolled back over time.

“Any sale of the airline will not only have a major impact on our links to other countries and continents, it could also result in significant job losses at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports.  As many as 1,000 redundancies could be on the cards if the consolidation goes ahead.

“Minister Paschal Donohoe must ensure that the Government acts in the best interests of the country and not sell out for a short term cash boost ahead of an election.  His reluctance to make his position on the issue clear is extremely worrying and I am calling on him to use the Government stake in the airline to protect Ireland’s national interests and veto this sale”.