One of the problems when we look at motorways is that cost is the only factor that seems to matter to those in charge. One cannot measure archaeological finds, heritage, fauna, flora and environmental damage in terms of costs. One cannot compare the cost of a motorway with heritage. They are totally different things. One is priceless, the other can be measured in euro and cent and the cost to the Exchequer in the immediate future. (more…)
Archive for November, 2004
I am somewhat depressed that the House today is discussing the sole item of statements on pensions. I do not believe that is as urgent as the issue of Aer Lingus. The Seanad is in danger of becoming increasingly irrelevant if it refuses to discuss issues of this sort. Senator O’Toole and I would certainly disagree with this but it is important that legitimate views on Aer Lingus are considered. (more…)
Following the resignations of three senior Aer Lingus executives, I argued in the Seanad today that there is little point in discussing the issue without the Taoiseach coming to the House.
Senator O’Toole referred to the lack of a need for politicking. I sympathise with that but Aer Lingus is all about politics. That is the trouble with it. The person who is pulling the strings on Aer Lingus is not Mr. Walsh, the management or the Minister; it is the Taoiseach. We only had to listen the Minister, Deputy Cullen, speak today on “Morning Ireland” and other programmes and hear how he managed to say absolutely nothing for about three quarters of an hour. (more…)
The Minister for Transport has an important role as sole shareholder of CIE. That is a responsible role but I suggest it has been a tremendous obstacle to transport in this country. That CIE has been a monopoly for so long, along with the other great monopolies of the State – CIE, An Post and Aer Rianta – has hindered the particular objectives to which those companies aspire. Their mission has been hindered by their monopolies. (more…)
It is fashionable and easy to bellyache about public transport and people will do so whenever they are in Opposition. Ministers for Transport are easy targets and they have a very difficult job. I agree with much of what has been said about the improvements which have taken place in transport in the Dublin area in recent times. Not everything has been entirely welcome. There have been appalling and unforgivable delays. They have tested the customers’ patience to such an extent that it is almost at breaking point.
We should not restrict any debate on transport to the Luas. Some serious questions have to be answered but there has been a continuous failure to do so. They concern the other two major problems in this area, namely, Aer Rianta and Aer Lingus.
Whereas the change of Minister may or may not make a difference, Deputy Cullen has not only inherited the problems which his predecessor was struggling with, he has also got the boards, particularly of Aer Rianta, appointed by the former Minister for Transport, Deputy Brennan.
We must ask a serious question, not about State appointments to boards but whether it is awkward for Deputy Cullen that people who were hand-picked by one person to do a particular job are now being employed by him for a different role. We must face the fact that they have loyalties to a particular Minister. We must ask whether these boards are now suitable for the current Minister and whether he is happy with them.
We should have a debate on transport, but not just on the Luas. Such a debate would allow Deputy Cullen to debate Aer Rianta in light of the fact that he has taken over as Minister.