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Dublin: 2 °C Sunday 17 November, 2019
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Fianna Fáil tries to delay Aer Lingus vote amid growing fears of job losses

Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…

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Everyone’s talking about…

The sale of Aer Lingus is dominating headlines today, with the government expected to rubber-stamp the IAG deal.

paschal Paschal Donohoe Source: Photocall Ireland

Fianna Fáil is calling for the vote on selling the State’s 25.1% stake in the airline to be delayed.

There were very angry scenes in the Dáil yesterday as TDs debated the issue.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin accussed Enda Kenny of treating the house with “contempt” and trying to “ram through” the deal.

Independent TD Clare Daly, meanwhile, accused the coalition of hitting “a new low“.

In a heated exchange during Leaders’ Questions, Martin brought up a report commissioned by Aer Lingus that recommends cutting jobs among pilots, cabin crew and catering staff. Several papers report this morning that the airline needs to make savings of at least €60 million.

The Taoiseach said neither he nor Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe had seen the report.

All Fine Gael and Labour TDs are expected to back the deal, bar Clare’s Michael McNamara – who is expected to be expelled from Labour for voting against it.

Sinn Féin’s Dessie Ellis had a stark warning for Labour yesterday, saying the party would be punished by voters if they backed the decision.

Stephen Kavanagh, Aer Lingus CEO, has written to the government to allay any fears the government might have about the deal. He assured that compulsory redundancies and outsourcing of jobs wouldn’t happen where savings can be made within the airline.

Kavanagh told Morning Ireland the €40 million savings target was put into the market long before IAG made its €1.36 billion bid (€2.55 per share).

When it was pointed out that he stands to make about €720,000 on his 282,000 shares if the deal goes through, he said the income would be “fully-taxable”.

Kavanagh said “outsourcing is not on the agenda” if efficiency is maintained, something he said is more likely if IAG takes over the airline.

Inside Leinster House

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There were VERY heated exchanges in the lower house as TDs clashed over the Aer Lingus deal.

The agenda

  • Patrick Neary, former CEO of the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority, will face a full day’s questions from the banking inquiry – with sessions kicking off at 9.30am and 2.30pm.
  • Health Minister Leo Varadkar will answer questions in the Dáil at 9.30am.
  • The Children and Health Committee will hear from Dr Niall Muldoon, Ombudsman for Children at 9.30am, before discussing Deafblindness at 11.15am.
  • The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will delve into issue of social welfare payments at 10am.
  • Tánaiste Joan Burton will answer Leaders’ Questions at noon.
  • Debate on the Aer Lingus sale will continue at 10.45am and resume at 12.41pm. Discussion is expected to conclude by 4.42pm.
  • Finance Minister Michael Noonan will face questions from a European Commission delegation on tax deals offered to multinationals operating in Ireland.

What the others are saying

  • Several papers report the government was warned two months before the bank guarantee in September 2008 that Seán Quinn’s Anglo debts were enough to bring down the financial sector.
  • The Irish Examiner reports that insolvency experts have told TDs mortgage debt write-downs need to be made to help families trapped in arrears.
  • In a column in the Irish Independent, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald says equality in the workplace can’t be achieved without equality in the home. 

In case you missed it

  • Lucinda Creighton called on the Taoiseach to make a statement about businessman Denis O’Brien trying to correct the Dáil record.
  • Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen inisted Averil Power was not laughed at for suggesting colleagues campaign for a Yes vote in the marriage referendum.
  • A Renua Ireland activist took the blame for a controversial Yes Kilkenny endorsement of by-election candidate Patrick McKee.

On the Twitter machine

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Originally published: 9am

Will Fine Gael and Labour come to blows over Aer Lingus sale?

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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