There are fears that an attempt by budget operator Ryanair to take over Aer Lingus, Ireland’s recently privatised national airline, could be detrimental for airline workers and travellers alike.
The Dublin government has already indicated it is planning a legal action against the deal on competition grounds.
Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary claimed the planned takeover was a “unique opportunity” to form a “strong” Irish airline, although he added that there were no plans to merge the brands.
Sinn Féin Transport Spokesperson Sean Crowe TD has urged the European Union to step in to investigate the attempted takeover of Aer Lingus by its main competitor, which may be in contravention of European Competition Law.
“With this government’s complicity our former national carrier has been flaunted on the stock market and it was inevitable that ruthless big-business would step in to attempt to purchase the lion’s share,” said Deputy Crowe.
“Such a move by Ryanair would result in a private aviation monopoly in this state, making a mockery of claims by proponents of privatisation that the ideology brings competition and benefits to all.
“It would appear to us that this is a calculated move by Ryanair to take out competition; however they are just acting as big-businesses do in the market. The blame lies with the government, and the buck should stop there.”
Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou MacDonald said, “The creation of such a monopoly in private hands, may well have detrimental consequences for Ireland’s strategic economic interests as an island nation and repercussions for job security and worker conditions for current Aer Lingus employees.
“Ryanair have been notorious in their anti-union stance and providing a low quality of service. People need to look beyond the ‘cheap fare’ and look at the broader picture.
“With the sale of Aer Lingus and the ensuing fiasco this government have once again highlighted their incompetence and have shown that their fetish with privatisation is doomed to failure from the point of view of our island’s interests and those of Aer Lingus employees and the travelling public.”