Wednesday, 11 October 2006
Pat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
How is it that the Government has been completely taken by surprise? How is it that we have had the Minister for Transport floundering in the fashion we have seen over recent days? A sum of €30 million of taxpayers' money was spent on advisers, yet the Minister comes into the House, flailing around the place, making clear that it never crossed his mind that this might happen and, effectively, that he does not know what to do about it.
The Minister stated: "A monopoly is bad for business. It is bad for this country, the customer, the travelling public and tourism interests." His conclusion is exactly the position he has brought about. He was warned that this was a probability if the company was floated. Maybe we anticipated that it would have been British Airways rather than Ryanair, but we are heading towards having a single private monopoly in the aviation sector here.
Of all the hapless Ministers in this hapless Government, the Minister for Transport, Deputy Cullen, is the most accident prone. Apparently Deputies were not supposed to hear the remark but I heard the Tánaiste state with relief yesterday: "We survived it." What a commentary on the Tánaiste. Can Aer Lingus survive this Minister?