Sunday 23 October 2016

Aer Lingus sale talks to be completed within weeks

Aer Lingus planes on the tarmac
Aer Lingus planes on the tarmac
Paschal Donohoe

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said talks about the potential sale of the Government's stake in Aer Lingus remain ongoing but will be completed in the coming weeks.

Speaking at an event in Dublin, he said: "I gave an update to the Cabinet yesterday that discussions are continuing with IAG. I emphasised to my colleagues that this is a matter I want to draw to conclusion soon," he said.

"It has been ongoing for a while, it is a complicated issue which is very important for the development of Aer Lingus and to our country. Whatever decision is made, I want it to be the right one for both and I anticipate that in the coming weeks we will be in a position to do so."

Asked whether the talks have stalled on a lack of agreement on Heathrow slots and commitments on jobs, Mr Donohoe said: "They continue to be matters that are very important. I rejected the potential bid because I was not satisfied that the recognition of the slots and how they would be protected and how commitments in relation to jobs and how they would be delivered."

"These are the areas that are crucial for the Government and the areas we are actively working on," he said.

He said the talks with the unions are not a matter for him.

Mr Donohoe defended the length of time the process has taken,  saying given the size of the deal and the importance of the company to the country, it was justified.

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