Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Fergus Byrne, Sinn Féin representative Balbriggan, has expressed his support for Aer Lingus workers in the face of the company’s plans for massive redundancies affecting 676 jobs covering all aspects of its operations.

Fergus Byrne pointed out that once again we are seeing yet another example of panicked and negative thinking on behalf of employers in Ireland. Yes the company, and indeed the country, has severe problems, but simply throwing people onto the dole queues is not the way to tackle them.

Sinn Féin demands that the government take immediate steps to stop any job loses at Aer Lingus and fully supports the workers involved and the demand by their trade union representatives that the threat to their jobs is lifted.

What is needed is for the government to recognise that they can no longer stand aside and allow good jobs to simply disappear. Such inaction by the government creates a viscous circle whereby their refusal to act leads to increased unemployment, this then reduces government tax income and leads to increased social welfare spending, which makes the whole finical crisis in the country worse.

People need to remember that it is not public sector wages that are draining the public finances, but rather having to finance the 400,000 plus people this government has put on the dole queues.

But there is an alternative!

This government was quick enough to jump in and bail out the bankers and property speculators, so now let them help a major employer like Aer lingus get over this difficult period. In Germany and other European economies time limited subsidies are given to struggling companies so that they can keep on their employees. These subsidies help cut the company’s wage bill and it to spend time in upskilling its employees. This is what is needed at Aer Lingus.

The latest world economic figures show many countries are beginning to come out of recession and this will no doubt lead to increased air travel. The present downturn in the industry is therefore expected to be reversed and Aer Lingus needs to be a position to respond quickly to this. If the government takes positive action NOW to maintain jobs in Aer Lingus then the company will have the experienced personnel in place to respond positively to increased consumer demand.

What the people of North Dublin do not want to hear is empty words from local Fianna Fáil or Green Party representatives saying they support the workers and their families. Instead this government needs to show the people of Ireland and North County Dublin that it understands the pain of unemployment and is prepared to do everything in its power to help keep people in jobs.

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