Week’s events: Aer Lingus, BIPA, Educate Together D7K & Stephanie Roche

27th February, 2015

This week the Government concluded that the commitments that have been provided to date by International Airline Group (IAG) – the company looking to buy Aer Lingus – do not provide a basis on which the Government could give an irrevocable commitment to accept an offer to dispose of its 25.1% shareholding, should one be made. While the Government acknowledges the detail and clarifications that IAG have given so far in respect of the disposal of Aer Lingus’ existing slots at Heathrow, the operation of those slots for routes to Ireland, among other things, clarification on a number of issues is still needed.


These issues centre include Aer Lingus’ future employment potential, plans for growth in transatlantic traffic and the addition of new US destinations for Aer Lingus; and plans for Cork and Shannon. It is the Government’s view that while proposals in respect of legally binding, permanent commitments on the Heathrow slots and term-based commitments on routes are welcome, a longer timeframe than the five year commitment given is needed.


That stated, the Government remains open to considering any improved proposal which IAG may bring to the Inter-Departmental Steering Group, who will carefully analyse any new proposals that may emerge.


I also addressed the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly Plenary meeting this week on the importance of sport to our shared culture. I was in the Slieve Russell Hotel in Cavan, not once but twice; on Tuesday for the Irish Hotel Federation Annual Dinner and again on Saturday evening for the GAA Congress Banquet.


I met with Government representative from the Galway area who forcefully made their views in respect of local concerns about greenways known to me. And I took the Roads Bill 2014, which will see the National Roads Authority and the Railway Procurement Agency merge, through Report and Final stages in the Dáil.


I was at the Educate Together D7 on Wednesday morning where Stephanie Roche, who came second in the FIFA Puskás Award for the best goal of 2014, launched the D7K; a fun run that the school is doing in the Phoenix Park in May. I also called on the people of Stoneybatter during the week to listen to their concerns and I’ll be in the Aviva on Sunday afternoon to cheer Ireland on against England in the Six Nations rugby international in what is sure to be another exciting game.