[Sinn Fein]

10th July 2003

Proposal to break up Aer Rianta should be withdrawn

`We need Co-operation, Not Competition'

Reacting to the proposals announced this evening by Minister Seamus Brennan to break up Aer Rianta into three companies for Cork, Dublin and Shannon, Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Transport Seán Crowe said it was ``a massive backward step, which will end up seriously damaging the island economy .

Deputy Crowe said:

``Just a year ago when he took on the Transport brief Seamus Brennan claimed that he had no ideological position on privatisation but everything he has done in office since then has shown the opposite to be true. It is bad enough that he is ramming privatisation through at CIE and now Aer Rianta. What is worse is that in each case there has been little real discussion and no worker consultation. It makes a mockery of the partnership process.

``Aer Rianta is a profitable company, so profitable that the Government is looking for a 20% dividend on the E36 million net profit made by the company last year. Dublin Airport was one of the three highest growth airports in Europe and one of only seven of the top twenty European airports to report annual growth in the year ending October 2002. It has encouraged the development of Shannon Airport by spending more than 60 times per passenger promoting Shannon than Dublin Airport.

``As a state depending on its ability to import and export for economic prosperity, efficient management of the transport infrastructure is a priority. It is clear that there are flaws in the how airports are managed and run in Ireland but break up and privatisation is not the solution. This strategy will fail. It will cost jobs and damage the economy

``We want vibrant, dynamic well run public sector companies that will benefit all of the economy not private sector concerns driven by short term profits and little focus on the bigger picture. Aer Rianta should be growing into an all-Ireland company with greater focus on developing regional air facilities, not be carved up for a fire sale .ENDS

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