Dáil debates

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions

Semi-State Bodies Issues

9:50 am

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

The Government remains willing to sell its shareholding at the right time, at the right price and under the right conditions, but they do not appear to be emerging at this point. When Aer Lingus was fully State-owned it was heavily loss making. Now under majority private ownership, with 75% owned privately, it is a success story. It is one of a few airlines in Europe that makes money. It is profitable, efficient and pays a dividend to the State. In my view that is proof positive that the privatisation of Aer Lingus was a success story for passengers and taxpayers.

The pension fund is a multi-employer pension fund involving DAA, SRT and Aer Lingus, which makes the whole thing very complicated. As with many pension funds, the problem is actually quite simple. Over a long period of time neither the members nor the company paid enough money into the pension fund to deliver the benefits that were promised or expected. The only solution that can ever arise to a problem such as this is for the members to accept fewer benefits than they had anticipated and for both companies to put more money into the pension fund. That is the finding of the Labour Court and one I have endorsed.


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