herald

Sunday 4 December 2016

Jobs are key to any Aer Lingus deal, says Reilly

Minister for Children and Youth affairs Dr.James Reilly at the JPC meeting in the Combined Club Balbriggan
Minister for Children and Youth affairs Dr.James Reilly at the JPC meeting in the Combined Club Balbriggan

MINISTER for Children Dr James Reilly has said that the Government will "look very hard" at the sale of Aer Lingus "if the right deal is put on the table".

But the Dublin North TD also said he is "very concerned for jobs" that could be affected by the sale of the Government's stake in the airline.

Opposition

There was opposition to the initial €1.4bn IAG offer among many government TDs, particularly from the Labour Party and it was ultimately turned down by Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe.

Dublin North is home to the airport and many Aer Lingus workers.

"I am obviously very concerned around the jobs for the members, particularly in my constituency and in many other parts of Ireland as well", Minister Reilly told the Herald.

"I am not ideologically opposed [to a deal with IAG].

"If the right deal is put on the table that can guarantee those things for us then I think we will have to look at it very hard", he said.

The Government is expected to make a decision on the sale shortly, after initially refusing to accept IAG boss Wille Walsh's first takeover attempt.

Since that time IAG representatives have held a number of meetings with Government officials in an attempt to hammer out a deal that would ensure job security.

The Government is also looking for guarantees in terms of connectivity and future Aer Lingus growth if IAG is to buy the airline.

"Minister Donohue hasn't come to us with the final facts yet", Dr Reilly said.

"We made it very clear that we are not prepared to accept the previous deal and I don't believe in making any comment until such time that what's on the table is put in front of me and I'm not aware of what the full deal is yet".

hnews@herald.ie

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