AER LINGUS WITHDRAWING perks from its cabin crew following their strike last Friday over rosters has been labelled as “outrageous” by Clare Daly.
The independent TD said the move amounted to “bully boy tactics” and was “insult being added to injury”.
“It’s like a fella agreeing to go to relationship counselling and then kicking his wife around the kitchen the night before,” Daly remarked in the Dáil this afternoon.
Yesterday staff who went on strike were informed that they would no longer be entitled to flights at reduced fares for themselves and their families.
As it is a shareholder in the airline, Daly said it wasn’t “good enough any longer” for the government to sit “on the fence” about the issue.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan was answering Leader’s Questions today as Enda Kenny is currently in the US.
Noonan said he thought industrial action on a bank holiday weekend was “disproportionate” in this instance and should not have occured as it led to 30,000 people not being “able to get a very well deserved holiday”.
“The way forward is to use the industrial relations machinery of the State if they can be helpful to bring the two sides together,” he added.
Conflict of interest
Also during Leaders’ Questions, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said that the director of the West/North West Hospital Group, Noel Daly, needed to review his position after it emerged that he founded the company tasked with reviewing maternity services in Galway, Roscommon, Mayo, Sligo and Donegal.
Daly set up D & F Health Partnership Ltd, trading as the Health Partnership, with Deirdre Foley Woods in 2008. He was appointed to his current role by Health Minister James Reilly in 2012.
Upon his appointment to the West/North West Hospital Group, Daly resigned as chair of the Health Partnership.
He retained a 50 per cent share in the company but the hospital group said he has received “no financial reward of any kind from the company since his retirement in December 2011″ and “remains committed to disposing of his shares”.
Noonan said he hadn’t had an “extensive briefing” on the issue but said he didn’t think there was a conflict of interest.
He added that Ireland was a small country, so there may be a certain degree of overlap in the health industry.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin also had health on his mind today, accusing the government “gross mismanagement of the public health service”.
Martin said that 4,000 people a month dropped their private health insurance in the year up to 2014 as the government had “implemented policies that are driving people out of the market”.
He noted that this was leading to increased premiums for those who continued to keep their insurance.
Noonan denied it was the Fine Gael and Labour’s fault, saying that the policies of the previous Fianna Fáil government had resulted in the “loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs”.
He added that voluntary health insurance was “one of the first things [the unemployed] inevitably give up” and noted that over 44 per cent of the population still have cover.