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The Aer Lingus Issue Must be Debated; Not Fudged

Posted on: November 18th, 2004

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.

We need a debate and we need the Taoiseach to come into the House because he is the man who has been saying he does not want an MBO or many other formulas. In the meantime, the Taoiseach and Ministers have been sitting on this issue for far too long. There is a sub-committee, which, for some reason, has not met. Unless Senator Morrissey and others put greater pressure on the Taoiseach no decision will be made on Aer Lingus until the next general election or the next crisis.

The issue will be fudged again and eventually we will not have a working airline at all. Senator Dooley condemned what he called the corporate hijacking of the airline. I like his choice of expression. I welcome corporate hijacking. Aer Lingus was bust before the corporate hijacking and will be bust again if we do not do something about it.

I ask the Leader to ask the man who is dictating the policy on Aer Lingus to come to the House for a debate.