When the Government decided to part privatize Aer Lingus it justified its decision on the basis that the national interest would be protected by the retention of a 25% shareholding. It is in the national interest that the Aer Lingus maintains the Shannon to Heathrow route. So there is no contradiction in FG's stance of opposition to the Aer Lingus decision to axe the Shannon to Heathrow route. It is now calling on the Government to use the 25% shareholding in the national interest as was promised at privatisation. Multinational Companies, tourist interests and the general public in the Mid West are up in arms over this. These groups are not card carrying Socialists.
IF Aer Lingus were a fully privatized company and if FG voted for full privatisation then FG could not justify any attempted state interference. The State is still a large shareholder so it is as entitled as any other shareholder to defend its interests. A certain bogus orthodoxy appears to have developed around this issue. It is claimed that this smacks of socialism. Not so. If the FF-PD-Green Party Coalition has no intention of using the 25% state shareholding in the national interest, it should sell it.