Brian Hayes MEP

Home » Statement » Aer Lingus sale to IAG is just another example of how Ireland’s populist left have been caught out yet again – Hayes

Aer Lingus sale to IAG is just another example of how Ireland’s populist left have been caught out yet again – Hayes

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Aer Lingus sale to IAG is just another example of how Ireland’s populist left have been caught out yet again – Hayes

Speaking at a Fine Gael Dublin-Rathdown meeting tonight (Thursday), Brian Hayes MEP demanded that Irish populist parties be called out when they get things spectacularly wrong.

Aer Lingus.jpg

“Ireland’s left wing parties got it totally wrong on the sale of Aer Lingus. Everyone should hear that loud and clear. This time last year when IAG made a bid for Aer Lingus the usual suspects went into full opposition mode.”

“Sinn Fein and smaller populist parties used every opportunity in the Dail and in the media to condemn the Government for selling its 25% share.  According to Sinn Fein’s Transport Spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD, IAG had no interest in staying in Ireland.  He even claimed that Sinn Fein would hold a referendum on the issue. If Sinn Fein were ever in Government we would have a referendum every day.”

“Claire Daly TD called the sale “pure treachery”. Paul Murphy TD called for “a veto on further privatisation”. It is now rather amusing to note that back in 2015 businessman Donald Trump also advised the Government not to give away the airline to the highest bidder. Mr Trump of course was more concerned about protecting his own business interests in Co. Clare than he was in Aer Lingus or what was in the best interest of the Irish people. I wonder how often Mr. Trump followed his own advice of not selling to the highest bidder; he certainly wouldn’t’t be where he is today had he done so very often.”

“While the sale process was taken place, Irelands brand of populists were in full flow. Aer Lingus would be asset stripped, the company HQ would be moved, jobs would be lost, connectivity with Heathrow would be lost; the sky was about to fall in. Well guess what – fifteen months later Aer Lingus is flying high with IAG. New routes and new jobs are in place. Are Lingus now has a good future. The right decision was made.”

“Aer Lingus now has extra valuable slots at Heathrow. New routes are being added to the US and to Europe; increased capacity is being rolled out on existing US and European routes. In 2017 for the first time Aer Lingus will fly to Miami. The airline will have the capacity to carry 2.5 million passengers on its transatlantic routes in 2017 and will fly on fifteen US routes.”

“Aer Lingus is also increasing its fleet size with the addition of three new aircraft in 2016 with a further fleet expansion planned as the airline continues to grow. And the good news continues; the intense rivalry between Aer Lingus and Ryanair is now being replaced by discussions on the possible transfer of Ryanair passengers to Aer Lingus transatlantic routes.”

“There is also good news on the jobs front. Employment at Aer Lingus now exceeds 4,000, up by more than 200 since the takeover. More jobs will be coming on stream during 2017 as the company continues to grow.”

“Currently Aer Lingus is the most profitable unit in the IAG airline group. Aer Lingus is a major private sector employer in the Dublin region, particularly in Fingal. The airline is also central to the ongoing success story which is Dublin Airport, which will handle more than 25 million passengers this year.”

“There is a clear lesson in all of this. International airlines alliances do not have to be a zero sum game; they can also be win-win for all parties to the deal. The reality is this – the sale of Aer Lingus to IAG has been good for Aer Lingus, good for jobs, good for the travel industry and good for the Irish economy. “

“The other storyline which needs debunking is this – big international companies are bad. This has become part of the left wing political narrative in Ireland. The economic reality is the direct opposite. During the last 50 years, investment in Ireland by big international companies has transformed this country.  In the 1950s Ireland was an economic and social backwater. Today Ireland is in the top ten most developed countries in the world. That is something we can be proud of.”

“I want to see robust political debate. I believe in telling the public the truth and not yielding to a political narrative that is based on misinformation, exaggeration and bloated claims. Irelands brand of left wing populists do not want to tell the truth. They have no ambition for the country. They want a revolution every day and on every issue. They will say anything or lie about anything to pretend to the public.”

“The one thing that Ireland’s populists fear more than anything else – is the prospect of power and the prospect of making decisions. The left are well able to dish out strong criticism of other parties on a daily basis. Last year they loudly opposed the sale of Aer Lingus to IAG. They got it spectacularly wrong and it’s about time they were called out,” concluded MEP Hayes.


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