Now FF in Midwest Joins Fight to Reverse Aer Lingus Decision; (1)Not Too Late Government Minister Willie O'dew(2)Opposed the More Ryanair's Michael O'leary
Byline: Sandra Murphy
A CRISIS meeting by Fianna Fail representatives from the West of Irelandwas held last night in a bid to reverse Aer Linguss decision to drop itsShannon to Heathrow route in favour of Belfast.
The move comes despite Transport Minister Noel Dempsey saying the decision toaxe the route is a commercial one which the government cannot change.
But the Governments lack of action has already created deep divisions withDefence Minister Willie ODeas intervention, that it was not too late to coaxAer Lingus back, earlier this week.
Mr ODea and Minister of State Tony Killeen were among delegates who attendedthe meeting at the Oakwood Arms Hotel in Shannon last night. The meeting washeld just days after Aer Lingus pilots voted to strike over the planned movefrom Shannon to Belfast. Pilots will stage a 48-hour walkout next week over theairlines plans to offer lower wages to new staff flying from Belfast, a movethey claim is tantamount to a two-tier system in the company.
The walkout, planned for next Tuesday and Wednesday, will throw into chaos thetravel plans of up to 60,000 people.
Ryanairs Michael OLeary has also waded into the row by calling for anextraordinary general meeting (EGM) of the former State airlines shareholders.
Mr OLeary has said he would use his votes to oppose the move, suggesting thatAer Lingus could switch its Gatwick slots instead from Dublin to Belfast.Ryanair owns 25 per cent of Aer Lingus.
Limerick East Fianna Fail TD Peter Power last night called on the airline toreverse the decision.
They should drop their decision and reverse it before they are forced to do itby an Extraordinary General Meeting, he said.
The controversial decision to drop the route was greeted with dismay in thewest of Ireland where it is seen as a blow to tourism and the areas economy. …