Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Aer Lingus’ decision to withdraw its aircraft on the Shannon-London Heathrow route and transfer this service to Belfast-Aldergrove has stirred up a hornets’ nest of hysterical protest, special pleading and complaining about the losses involved to the surrounding region. It should be noted that, apart from the Trade Unions involved, none of these protesters were in evidence when the Government privatised the State Airline, Aer Lingus, last year. Despite warnings from the Trade Unions and the Labour Party that privatisation would have negative effects on access and future regional development, none of the so-called “business community” raised any objections to the privatisation and subsequently, the Government which engineered it was re-elected to power last May with substantial support from the Midwest region. Pro-privatisation TD’s received 80% of the vote in the election.

The Shannon Airport Authority, which is in the lead of the protest, was set up on demand of local management when Aer Rianta, the state company which managed the airports previously, was dissolved and the assets divided between Shannon, Dublin and Cork airports. SAA had, further, the brass-neck to demand that Dublin Airport Authority be saddled with Shannon’s share of the debt of Aer Rianta! Now, this molly-coddled bunch of incompetents who have sat on their hands since they were set-up and have done nothing to expand the business of their airport in the commercial sphere, preferring instead to wallow in the mercenary gains of the blood-dollars from the use of Shannon Airport by the US Military in supplying troops and materiel to its illegal imperialist War on the people of Iraq, and the illegal transfer of kidnapped persons to the US torture camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This is the main achievement of their existence, so far; to draw shame and embarrassment, internationally, on the Irish people and to ignore national protest and public opinion against this abuse of state facilities for prosecution of an illegal war.

Hypocrisy Flies Again

The howls of “protest” from the hypocritical bunch of FF/PD td’s plus gombeen hangers-on like Healy-Ray who trooped into the lobbies to vote for privatisation of Aer Lingus last year is a sickening display of the dishonesty and corrupt immorality of these parasites who trumpeted the privatisation as a necessity and a progressive development in so-called Celtic Tiger Ireland.

Yet, when the first commercial decision of the now private airline exposes their propaganda stunt and that dishonesty for what it is, they refuse to take responsibility for their own decisions to asset-strip the public sector and they run for cover as “local” representatives as if they were somehow detached from the Government they support in the Dáil. Then, along comes the Wicked Wanker of the Whinging West the vile, scurrilous Two-Gun Deputy O’Dea (Limerick East) who pretends, on occasions, to be Minister for Defence of this Republic, jumping on the bandwagon with a slimy attack on the Aer Lingus Chief Executive, Mr Dermot Mannion whom he likened to a “latter-day Oliver Cromwell”. Mr Mannion has done nothing but implement Government policy, the same Government of which Deputy O’Dea, on occasions, purports to be a member. It is Deputy O’Dea and his slimy Government who are the real “Oliver Cromwells”, the ones who failed to implement their own so-called “spatial strategy”, a political fraud along with their so-called “regional policy” to fool the EU into providing funds for these phantom “developments”. The “Irish Times” of 13/08/07 announces years of delay in 11 sectors of the much-vaunted “Transport 21” infra-structure project in another example of Government chicanery. How the “business community” can believe that they can get a coherent policy implemented by this shambles of a government with ministers contradicting each other in public doesn’t say much for their level of intelligence either.

Calculated Procrastination

There is, undoubtedly, both a demand for connections to London and further expansion required for industrial development in the Midwest region as a whole but, whether it should be Shannon-Heathrow or Aer Lingus, in particular, which provides the service is primarily a business, market- based decision, something which the FF/PD alliance has been preaching support for for years. The through-put at Shannon at just 3m passengers p.a., mostly on trans-Atlantic routes, compared with Dublin at 20m, Belfast at 1.2m and Heathrow itself with 68m shows just how limited the business for airlines is at Shannon with an Authority that couldn’t be bothered seeking new business until it was shocked out of its slumbers by the Aer Lingus withdrawal. What has been ignored in all the fury is that the connections to other airports in London are still operating from Shannon.

On surface transport for the region, the FF/PD alliance has equally failed to adopt a dynamic approach as their procrastination on re-opening the rail connections between Limerick and Sligo via Ennis and Athenry has shown. In the 60 years or more the Airport has been open at Shannon no attempt has been made to connect it to the relatively nearby national rail network.

Donegal, a county in the northwest with a population of over 100,000, has been cut off from rail access since the 1960’s and the FF/PD alliance have made not a sputter of effort there either. The sham “Regional Assemblies” which they set up a few years ago are toothless muppet-shows which have nothing to do with genuine local government which has been steadily degraded throughout the period of FF/PD being in power.

On Wings of Whimsy

In a savage irony, Leering O’Leery, the Pirateer of the Cabeens, scourge of the Trade Unions and persistent thorn-in-the-side of Blank-Cheque Bertie, has made a public offer to use his 25% shareholding in Aer Lingus in concert with the government’s 25% and the Aer Lingus workers’ shares at an EGM of the Board, which he has initiated, to attempt to reverse the management decision to withdraw the Shannon-Heathrow service. The Clown Prince of International Aviation now has the Blank-Cheque Supremo in a bind, forcing him into the open to make a stand for or against the Shannon-Heathrow link.

With less than 100 days since his “new” Government took office, the political blunders of the so-called “Teflon” Taoiseach have attracted mounting criticism; the arrogant, two-fingers to public decency re-habilitation of Beverly Stupor-Flynntstone, the disgraced former FF Td for Mayo; the cronyist appointment of Eoghan Guru Harris to the Seanad seen as an obvious reward for sycophantic a$$-licking during the recent General Election and the current debacle of the Shannon/Belfast switcheroo which smacks of three-card-trickery of the worst kind. His cabinet is in a shambles with Noel “let them eat cake” Dempsey being called out to a duel on the tarmac by Two-Gun Deputy O’Dea, the Wicked Wanker of the Whinging West. With friends like these Blank- Cheque needs no enemies.

The lessons from these events should be quite clear now; if you vote for privatisation parties like Fianna Fáil and PD, privatisation is what you will get, along with all the negative consequences of such transformations of public assets into privately owned ones, answerable only to the shareholders as with any other capitalist private company.




FearFeasa Mac Léinn

Áth Cliath/Dublin, 15 Lúnasa /August 2007.