“If they don’t change their minds then there are other options.”

Whilst RTÉ reports the Irish Government Minister for Defence, and Limerick TD, Willie O’Dea describing the Aer Lingus decision to end its Shannon-Heathrow service [in favour of Belfast – Ed] as ‘wrong’, the Irish Times breaking news has the actual quote.. and the Freudian slip

“I’m not conceding yet that Aer Lingus can’t be forced to change – or can’t be persuaded, sorry persuaded – to change their minds. We will sit down and we will try and persuade them that they are wrong and we will try and persuade them to change their minds. If they don’t change their minds then there are other options.”

[Other options..? – Ed] He may want to run that past the rest of the Cabinet.. Although I’m sure Michael O’Leary will be listening.. ANYhoo.. in a related report, nearly 500 Aer Lingus pilots are to stage a 48-hour strike after the company confirmed to the Irish Airlines Pilots Association branch of IMPACT that it would not be employing the 25-30 new pilots to be based in Belfast under the terms of existing collective agreements. Update Aer Lingus statement via the BBC

“We have been through all the available machinery of the State here, (and) we have had an arbitration process specific to the pilots sponsored by the Irish labour courts,” he said. “Both of those processes agree – it is appropriate in new bases outside the Irish Republic to recruit on local terms and conditions.”

btw the image of the Defence Minister referenced here seems to have disappeared from the archived Irish Times front page.. so here it is again.

Adds an interesting detail in relation to the pilots’ strike

Michael Landers, assistant general secretary of Impact told ireland.com that pilots had this evening voted to activate a ballot taken in June in relation to industrial action over new terms and conditions at Belfast.

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  • Willie O’Dea, the hairy version of Father Ted has furthered Anglo/Irish, North/South relationships furher than that other Willie, the DUP’s Rev. Willie McCrea did in a lifetime, cept the, O’Dea Wilie did his in a part of a morning. Good work, Minister!! NOT!!

  • The Dubliner

    I hope Willie O’Dea states what the “other options” are, lest the business community forms the damaging impression that a member of the Irish government would use veiled threats of vindictive action to coerce a private company to act as a public service, improperly putting the interests of the minister’s constituents before the interests of its own shareholders.

  • George

    Willie O’Dea, the man who I believe graduated top of his law class at UCD with a certain Michael McDowell second.

    Underestimate/belittle him at your peril.

  • Pete Baker

    That’s a very interesting choice of comparison, George – not least in the difference in reaction that would occur if the statement had come from the other politician mentioned.

    But, as the Dubliner suggests, let’s hear what these “other options” are that the Minister envisages will force… sorry, persuade Aer Lingus to change their minds..

  • George

    Pete,
    O’Dea runs his own kingdom and his own operation out in the west. Fianna Fáil’s director of elections (the legendary) P J Mara basically admitted as much the day after the Dáil election, saying he had pretty much no idea what went on on Willie’s turf and what he did or how he managed to secure nearly 20,000 votes all for himself.

    So it seems even the much-famed FF election machine doesn’t even know what goes on in darkest Limerick East so it certainly will be interesting to see what options O’Dea comes up with.

    If I was FF, I would be more than a little concerned at what the greatest constituency worker on this island has up his sleeve.

  • Pete Baker

    George

    No doubt FF will wait with bated breath to see what “the greatest constituency worker on this island has up his sleeve”.

    The Government, however, may not.

    Personally, I’d wait to see whether Willie’s mis-statements turn out to be anything other than Willie-waving to the locals before drawing any conclusions.

  • George

    Pete,
    forget the “government”, this is Fianna Fáil we are talking about :).

    Personally, I think this could been seen as the beginning of the end of the Bertie era and O’Dea looking to the future.

    He certainly won’t lose many allies in FF by publicly taking apart that “turncoat” Dempsey.

    After all, he is only in Defence and if he wants a decent ministry he needs to be in a position where Ahern’s successor can’t afford to ignore him.

  • Pete Baker

    George

    Where to begin..

    Your enthusiasm for O’Dea is noted..

    But, I’ll continue to point to his disregard of the acualité of government..

  • páid

    All bluster from O’Dea.

    Did the same thing re. Barrington’s hospital shutdown.

    Comes out shouting about the govt (HIS PARTY’S GOVT.) and roaring for Limerick, knowing he won’t win but looking good.

    Dopey Limerick voters get the politicians they deserve.

    And the fact that hundreds of his electorate have guaranteed jobs doing not very much at Shannon Airport must not be mentioned.

  • Pete Baker

    Update to original post via the BBC

    But Aer Lingus Chief Executive Dermot Mannion told the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster the company had already checked the legality of its policy.

    “We have been through all the available machinery of the State here, (and) we have had an arbitration process specific to the pilots sponsored by the Irish labour courts,” he said.

    “Both of those processes agree – it is appropriate in new bases outside the Irish Republic to recruit on local terms and conditions.”

  • páid

    It’s obvious that Cunning Lingus have decided, now that we’re all friends, to go for a Dublin, Belfast and Cork strategy, seeing that this is where folks live and want to go to mostly.

    Instead of moaning about the logical decisions of a private company, O’Dea & Co. would better serve Shannon by getting good road and rail links to Killarney, Tralee, Limerick, Ennis and Galway.

    Of course, this would involve planning for the greater good instead of planning for the enrichment of well-connected developers.

    So don’t hold your breath.

  • The Dubliner

    George, threatening an abuse of power is itself an abuse of power. We can remember the bad old days when a government minister (the father of the current Justice Minister) was caught drinking after hours in a pub, and asked the Garda, “Do you want a drink or a transfer?” If the minister didn’t make a threat of unspecified (but implied vindictive) action to improperly coerce a board of directors to abandon its commercial rationale and profit-maximising objectives in favour of serving the minister constituents (and rather obviously, personal his re-election prospects), then he should make that clear by specifying the “other options” that he was being so coyly menacing about. If, as you say, he was second in his class, then he should be smart enough to see that he should avoid creating the impression that Ireland is a banana republic.