Speaking in the Dáil on the sale of Aer Lingus, Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has described the move by the government as disappointing, but not surprising. Deputy Ó Caoláin went on to say that the sale is a sell-out when the long and cherished service given to the country by the airline was taken into consideration.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“I am not shocked but I am deeply saddened that this Government has decided, and will force through its decision by weight of numbers, to sell off our state stake in, what has always been to so many, our national airline.
“Shame on Fine Gael, and even greater shame on the Labour Party.
“We are told the Government decided to sell-off our Aer Lingus shareholding because the offer included improved connectivity to and from Ireland – spell it out what improvements, what guarantees and over what timeframe?
“We are told the Government decided to sell-off our Aer Lingus shareholding because the offer included real benefits for the economy generally and would have a positive impact on aviation jobs in Ireland. What about the right to keep your job and to continue to work in the employment of your choice?
“The offer, you tell us, is consistent with the Government’s aviation policy. I am minded of the children’s rhyme when reference is made to any so called Government aviation policy- ‘Fly away Enda, fly away Joan’ and please don’t bother coming back either of you.
“I want also to acknowledge here this evening and to express an equally deserved ‘thank you’ and ‘well done’ to Aer Lingus senior management who have acted with compassion and understanding in circumstances of real difficulty for Irish families in crisis situations overseas. I am conscious of one such intervention recently that merits our collective appreciation.
“We are an island people whose Government are willing to sell-off a critical part of our transport infrastructure and give away control over our access to and from all the important destinations and markets that we have historic and new built relations with. This is not just a sell-off, it is a sell-out.”