Willie Walsh, the chief executive of Aer Lingus, appeared before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport yesterday and announced that the so-called investment plan had been withdrawn. This means Aer Lingus is back in limbo, the future of the company is a matter of conjecture and nobody knows about it. It is important because a great deal of State money is involved.
Its ownership provokes and prompts a great deal of political and ideological discussion. This debate should be taken without delay.
Aer Lingus is in a healthy state. Those who support the status quo and continued State ownership, in particular, say it is fine and why interfere with the company. However, this is a business that goes up and down quickly and with the price of oil increasing on world markets, Aer Lingus could be in crisis again within months. That is the reality. We should not sit back in a self-satisfied manner just because everything is all right with Aer Lingus currently while failing to anticipate the next crisis in this semi-State body. If we rely on history, it is certain that there will be a crisis.