British Airways want to buy Aer Lingus. This has produced debate with some people taking interesting positions on the possible sale. Fianna Fail wants the government to use its shareholding to block the takeover. This is the same Fianna Fail who in government with the Progressive Democrats sold most of the shares of the airline on the stock market in the first place. At an earlier time from the 1930s onwards they developed the airline as a state company. How can you trust a party that has no principles?
In the past nations saw their airlines as a symbol of nationhood and progress. With the new neo liberal era in the name of competition state assets were privitized and markets were deregulated. But all we have is the transfer of state assets into the hands of big multinationals. The recent mergers of airlines reduce competition. It is creating international monopolies that are escaping control from democratic governments.
If this takeover happens we will have less competition. Ireland as an island would be more isolated. Local businesses are opposed to a sale because they fear that regional airports like Cork and Shannon would decline. The fear of job losses would have a major impact on the economy. Balanced regional development would be weakened. The 25% stake that the government has in Aer Lingus is too small to protect the company Ryanair has nearly 30% in Aer Lingus. We need to consider increasing our stake in the company going forward.
John O Brien.