Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey has today (Wednesday) outlined his position in relation to the current proposed offer from IAG for a takeover of Aer Lingus.
“The issue of the IAG proposed takeover is complex, in that the best interests of the taxpayer must be balanced against long-term strategic regional development and connectivity. We have consistently stated that as a Government we will not rush to sell our minority shareholding unless the market conditions and terms of the sale were favourable to our stated policy interests. As an island, it is crucial we maintain and grow our aviation links given that 80% of passenger movements in and out of Ireland are by air. Coupled with this, Aer Lingus has long been of strategic and economic importance to Ireland, supporting significant numbers of jobs and in the top 50 of Irish employers.
“As a Government we have considered and discussed carefully all aspects of this proposed takeover. As a County Clare TD, I have strong opinions on what is also in the best interests of Shannon Airport, a key economic driver for this region. I believe before we can fully assess the IAG offer, we need to hear more on what the company’s plans are for Shannon Airport in terms of the company’s targets and ambitions for additional passengers, routes and aircraft.”
Deputy Carey said of vital importance to this region is maintaining the Shannon-Heathrow connection.
“We in the Mid-West know all too well the negative economic impact a loss in connectivity can have on a region. I welcome the position put forward by IAG that they will offer legally binding commitments not to dispose of Aer Lingus’ slots to Heathrow, without Government approval. However a mere five year commitment to operate the Shannon Heathrow route is far too short a time scale. What’s currently on the table is not enough, we in the Mid-West Region need legally binding certainty about connectivity and we also need to hear specific details about IAG’s business expansion plans for Shannon if any proposal to sale the State’s shareholding is to be seriously considered, ” he said.