McCarthy recommendation on sale of Aer Lingus at odds with analysis on value of Heathrow slots
Coillte branch of IMPACT voices concerns on re-planting and possible sale
IMPACT trade union today (Wednesday) said that the McCarthy Report’s recommendation to sell its 25% stake in Aer Lingus is at odds with the report’s analysis of the strategic value of the company’s Heathrow slots.
The Coillte branch of IMPACT, which represents workers at the state owned forestry company, is opposed to the proposed sale of the company. The branch has also said that recommendation 33, which recommends the discontinuation of Coillte’s replanting obligation and grant-aided forestry, would create a ‘carte blanche’ to run down the forestry industry in Ireland, as well as to deforest existing lands.
The report published today by the Review Group on State Assets and Liabilities recommends that “The state’s shares in Aer Lingus should be disposed of as soon as is opportune.”
However, IMPACT trade union, which represents pilots, cabin crew and some management staff working at the airline, notes that the report also places considerable value on the slots at Heathrow Airport owned by the airline.
The strategic importance of the Heathrow slots for Ireland’s business interests and tourism industry has long been recognised, and there is no question of their considerable value as a core asset, over which the state retains an interest through its part ownership of the airline.
Having recognised the monetary and strategic value of these assets, the report nevertheless recommends disposal of its 25% Aer Lingus shareholding.
IMPACT national secretary Matt Staunton said,
This seems to be something of a contradiction. The recommendation to sell echoes the haste with which the state sold Eircom assets when the telecoms company was floated in 1999. Because of the wholesale disposal of strategic core assets on that occasion, the development of broadband services in Ireland remains a serious problem 12 years later. We have learned, very much to our cost, what it means to abandon core assets that serve the interests of the state, its citizens and its industries in haste. IMPACT trade union believes that this recommendation is at risk of replicating those errors