[Sinn Fein]

11 November 2002

Aer Lingus `is our company and it should remain our company'

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Transport Seán Crowe has called on the Minister for Transport to rule out privatisation of Aer Lingus.

The Dublin South-West TD said: ``The Minister claims that now that Aer Lingus is profitable it is time for it to be sold off. Aer Lingus is turning a profit because of the hard work and sacrifice of its workers. Surely, when a state-owned company is making money, it would be foolhardy in the extreme to sell it off to cover up the massive economic blunders that this government has made.

``I believe this drive to privatisation is not motivated by any real concern for the future of the company, or its workers, or its place in the Irish economy. It is an ideologically driven opposition to public ownership of any kind. It is designed to benefit not the workers of Aer Lingus or its owners - the Irish public - but the privileged few who would profit from privatisation.

``We in Sinn Fein are strongly in favour of Aer Lingus remaining in state ownership. This company has been built up over decades to become one of the keystones of the Irish economy, a company that has earned international respect for itself and for Ireland. Aer Lingus was founded at a time when the private sector in Ireland had neither the will nor the capacity to build such a vital strategic infrastructure. It was built up in difficult times and when it prospered it repaid the investment. It is our company and it should remain our company.''

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