IAG talks continue over Aer Lingus deal

NewsBy Kevin Palmer
Government still talking to IAG chief Willie Walsh over Aer Lingus sale
Government still talking to IAG chief Willie Walsh over Aer Lingus sale

The Irish Government has confirmed that it is in continuing dialogue with IAG over their possible take over of Aer Lingus.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe has said the Government has had ongoing engagement with IAG after its earlier rejection of the airline's proposed bid for Aer Lingus a number of weeks ago.

Donohoe said they had met at the end of last week and he expects that his department will be meeting the company, headed up by ex-British Airways and Aer Lingus boss Willie Walsh once more in the coming weeks.

"The fact that meetings were initiated shortly after my rejection of the proposed bid shows there is appetite for engagement on the areas that I stressed were very important," Donohoe told RTE.

"While the conversations are difficult because they focus in on matters that are of grave concern to this Government and to IAG, I'd have to also so they are being conduced in a tone that is workmanlike and positive," he added.

In an earlier interview with the Irish Independent, Donohoe stated: "I'm not going to put an exact timeframe on when this process will come to an end.

"What I've said before is that I do believe it's in everybody's interest that a decision is made on this soon.

"What will be foremost to them will be protecting the rights and conditions of the Aer Lingus workers, which is entirely legitimate."

Unions representing Aer Lingus staff have warned the Government against supporting a sale without staff having first been satisfied as to the terms of an IAG takeover.