“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.

donate to keep slugger lit