Fingal Independent

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Opposition to Aer Lingus bid


Councillors on the Balbriggan/Swords Area Committee have voiced strong opposition to the sale of the Government shares in Aer Lingus to Willie Walsh's IAG, with only one dissenting voice arguing the deal may be worthwhile.

Cllr Philip Lynam (SF) and Cllr Darragh Butler (FF) both put forward motions at this month's meeting of the committee, calling on their council colleagues to oppose the sale.

Cllr Lynam said the sale of the shares would affect 'thousands of people', may of them local employees of the company. He said that the State could not afford to lose its shares in the airline or the landing slots at Heathrow.

He said the deal would turn Aer Lingus into a 'feeder airline' and that there was 'no convincing argument' in favour of the sale of the Government's 25% stake in the airline

Cllr Darragh Butler (FF) said the sale would be a 'bad deal for Fingal and for Swords'. He said that the IAG deal would be bad for jobs and that it was important that local councillors send out a message to workers in the airline that they oppose the sale.

Cllr Barry Martin (PBP) said that the sale of the shares in Aer Lingus would be 'a disaster for the local economy'. He claimed IAG and Willie Walsh 'don't care' about the Aer Lingus workers and gave examples of other IAG takeovers that resulted in job losses.

Cllr Eugene Coppinger (AAA) agreed and said Aer LIngus had been a huge asset to Fingal for many years and he did not want to see it sold to IAG.

Offering an opposing view was Cllr Anne Devitt (NP) who said she did not believe the sale of the Government shares to IAG would be 'a disaster'.

Instead, Cllr Devitt said she believed the takeover of the airline would help grow the brand of Aer Lingus and grow its routes.

Cllr Duncan Smith (Lab) said he did not have a 'crystal ball' and could not tell what would happen if the shares were sold to IAG but he said the initial offer from IAG was a 'bad offer' and was bad for Aer Lingus workers, for connectivity and for the people of Ireland.

He commended the role Labour TDs played in ensuring that deal was rejected.

Cllr Paul Mulville (NP) also opposed the sale and said that 'airline mergers are never good for consumers' while Cllr Malachy Quinn (SF) said he feared the introduction of 'zero hour contracts' at the airline if the takeover went through.