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The government has 'got to listen' to Donald Trump's call to block Aer Lingus sale

The US billionaire’s intervention has been described as “a bit bizarre” today.

"Hey Enda, don't sell Aer Lingus!"
Image: Steven Bergman/AFF-USA.COM

Updated 5.40pm 

US BILLIONAIRE DONALD Trump’s call on the government to hang on to its stake in Aer Lingus, and oppose the proposed sale to IAG, has been met with a mixed reaction in political circles today.

According to the Irish Independent, the outspoken Trump has warned the Taoiseach that selling the State’s share in Aer Lingus would damage the country’s tourism industry and links to foreign direct investment.

The businessman, who plans to invest millions into his hotel and golf resort in Doonbeg, warns that the government should not give the airline “away to the highest bigger”.

The warning came in a letter to Kenny. It was also sent to Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe and Finance Minister Michael Noonan, who, you may remember, met Trump at Shannon Airport last year.

noonan2 Source: Darragh

Well, sort of

Source: DailyEdge.ie/YouTube

The government’s official position is that it rejected IAG’s initial offering last month and threw the ball back into IAG chief Willie Walsh’s court.

There have been reports that the cabinet will approve a revised sale deal after the Easter break, but nothing is yet confirmed.

There’s been reaction on both sides of the political spectrum to Trump’s intervention today.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Fianna Fáil’s transport spokesperson Timmy Dooley said the billionaire’s investment in trying to develop and grow a tourist attraction in west Clare meant he had an interest and a view that was worth listening to.

“He recognises the importance of relatively cheap airfares and direct access to Heathrow to provide connectivity to the wider world. He knows that anything that could disrupt or reduce competition will ultimately reduce people who are coming to visit his facility,” the Clare TD said.

Hit And Run Drivers Legislation Timmy Dooley Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

So of course it relates to his own interest and return on his investment. The needs and requirements of Irish people are inextricably linked to those kind of investments. You’ve got to listen to somebody like that.

On Morning Ireland, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton admitted that Trump’s comments are unexpected.

We’re certainly consulting widely on this isuse to make sure we get the decision right. But maybe that wasn’t a representation that you would have expected. Every view will be taken into account.

Meanwhile, the Socialist TD Paul Murphy, who wouldn’t normally find himself in agreement with billionaire capitalists, told TheJournal.ie that he found Trump’s comments “a bit bizarre”.

I think the government should veto the further privatisation or sell-off to IAG. It will be interesting as to whether Donald Trump’s comments, as a big capitalist, have more weight than the unions and various communities, who have spoken about the impact on them.

Murphy said that Trump was either reflecting the serious issues around connectivity or making a self-interested intervention.

Trump: ‘Sean O’Rourke is an a*****e. He took off my hair. This is my hair’

Read: ‘If I was Minister for Finance I would meet Donald Trump – but not on his terms’

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Hugh O'Connell

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