Business Irish

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Labour capitulates to FG on Aer Lingus sale

Union fears over job losses Veto over sale of Heathrow slots TDs to vote on sale tomorrow

Christoph Mueller
Christoph Mueller

Philip Ryan and John Mulligan

The Labour Party has capitulated to Fine Gael demands and accepted an improved offer for the State's share in Aer Lingus from airline giant IAG.

After months of concerns over the electoral impact of the sale, Labour agreed to sign off on a deal which will see IAG pledge to create hundreds of jobs. The Government will also hold a veto over the sale of the crucial Heathrow Airport landing slots.

The 'Aer Lingus Eight' - a group of Labour TDs mostly based in North Dublin, vehemently opposed to the initial offer - last night released a statement saying the deal was a "positive outcome".

And Labour TDs will back the deal in a Dáil vote tomorrow.

But the Irish Congress of Trade Unions said that it was a matter of "very serious concern" that the Government had failed to achieve any guarantees on possible job losses in Aer Lingus, despite some progress on connectivity and slot retention.

Announcing the €335m sale, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe insisted it was the best deal on offer for the country and will bring 635 jobs in five years.

But asked directly if any members of the Cabinet voiced concerns at the deal, Mr Donohoe sidestepped the question.

The planned takeover of Aer Lingus will now be referred to competition tsars at the European Commission.

The Government has spent weeks liaising with EU officials to ensure any pledges and vetoes it receives from IAG won't fall foul of competition rules.

Irish Independent

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