Aer Lingus Sale outrageous betrayal and act of national sabotage – vital strategic asset being sacrificed to a multinational on the altar of neo-liberal ideology.

In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, for the People Before Profit Alliance has slammed as an outrageous betrayal and act of national sabotage, the decision of the government, and particularly the Labour Party to sell off its remaining 25% stake in Aer Lingus to multinational airline IAG. Deputy Boyd Barrett also rubbished the so-called assurances being given by Minister Paschal Donohue on the issues of connectivity, the Heathrow slots and the protection of jobs, conditions and pensioners, saying that either the government were lying to the public or had been totally hood-winked by Willie Walsh, the CEO of IAG.

Richard Boyd Barrett said: aerlingusresized_0“The decision to sell-off the remaining public share in Aer Lingus is an outrageous betrayal and act of economic sabotage. The government are sacrificing an absolutely vital and hugely valuable public and strategic asset to a multinational company – driven by their blind commitment to neo-liberal economic dogma. It is no wonder that this should be done by Fine Gael – who wants to privatise everything the people of this country own – but it is yet another utterly monstrous betrayal by the Labour Party, who are supposed to stand for something different.

This is a profitable, growing and successful company of huge strategic and historic importance for our country – a company with one billion in cash assets and another billion in tangible assets – and it is to be sold for €1.3 billion. It is total madness.

The revelations about the Aer Lingus NYRA report, with plans for “savings” in, ground handling, catering and maintenance confirm that direct jobs and conditions will come under the axe to be replaced with out-sourcing. The experience of Iberia, when it was taken over by AIG, and Willie Walsh’s previous history at both Aer Lingus and British Airways, make it clear that his modus operandi is to attack jobs and conditions and replace them with outsourcing.

All the so-called assurances about the Heathrow slots and maintaining connectivity are also totally bogus. The ECJ ruled against the British government’s so-called “golden share” in BAA, as it did against the Portuguese government’s “golden shares” in the case of Portugal Telecom and Energias de Portugal.

So these assurances are completely bogus, which means either the government are deliberately deceiving the public or they have been totally hood-winked by Willie Walsh and IAG – whichever it is these assurances must be exposed for what they are.

Another, important consideration and irony in this equation is the fact that AIG is actually loss making currently, and while they predict future profit increases and new jobs, it is equally possible things will go bad for them in the future. This is a crazy and unnecessary risk to take with a company that is successful and of such national importance.

In reality, we are handing away for a song something of enormous value that we will never get back. We are putting the jobs, conditions, pensions and an island nation’s air connectivity into the hands of multinational that cares only about profit and has no loyalty to this country or its citizens. Even now, we should do everything to stop this sale and the government should be ashamed of itself for trying to ram this through before the public even know what has happened.”