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Council calls for rejection of IAG offer

CLARE County Council has passed a motion calling on the Government not to dispose of its 25.1% share in Aer Lingus.

At a special meeting of the local authority on Monday afternoon, the members passed the motion unanimously, while efforts are to be made to get other local authorities in the region to take a similar stand.

There have been fears that if the proposed IAG takeover of Aer Lingus proceeds that Shannon will lose its Heathrow connectivity and several of the members called on Clare’s Oireachtas members to make sure this does not happen.

Councillor Pat McMahon said that a future loss of connectivity would “choke future investment in Clare and the surrounding counties”, while Councillor Cathal Crowe warned that Shannon’s industrial base could be reduced to “large empty warehouses if these slots go”.

Calls for the retention of the State’s holding weren’t confined to the Fianna Fáil members, with Fine Gael’s Mary Howard saying she would “be very, very slow to support the Government considering a sale of the stake”.

In a related development this evening, IAG issued a statement that said it would guarantee the Irish Government that in the event of a takeover, it would commit to using the 23 Aer Lingus Heathrow slots on Irish routes for five years. However, it made no mention of keeping any of the slots at Shannon, or indeed Cork.

Owen Ryan

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