Shannon (No) Show rumbles on..

Another Irish Government Minister, Eamon O’Cuiv, has decided to criticise [Updated O’Cuiv link via Limerick Blogger] the Irish Government over the Aer Lingus decision and the Defence Minister, Limerick TD Willie O’Dea, has been painting defeat as victory.. Perhaps he should have listened to the Aer Lingus Chief Executive, Dermot Mannion, more carefully at that meeting.. or even to the official Irish Government statement.. oh, and the Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern is reported to be saying that the Heathrow route is over-rated [final paragraph].. Interestingly, with all the focus on intra-governmental disagreements, there’s silence from those who were, initially, most enthusiastic. [statement made on 7 Aug]

Dr Paisley said: “This is great news for Northern Ireland. It is another shining example of how competitive our economy is becoming. As with other recent announcements, there was stiff competition from another region to secure this deal. Much praise must therefore go to Aer Lingus and Belfast International Airport for their commitment to Northern Ireland.

Improving our economy is one of our key priorities and today’s announcement represents a massive boost. Reinstating the crucial Northern Ireland-Heathrow route is immensely significant for businesses, and will serve to strengthen our linkages within the UK economy, which is the fourth largest in the world ”

Junior Minister Gerry Kelly, in welcoming the announcement said: “This is a tremendous boost for our aviation industry. Our economy will greatly benefit from these eight new routes and will provide further choice for travellers. Significantly though, the flights to Heathrow and Amsterdam will raise the opportunity of direct onward flights to many more worldwide destinations. This is yet another tangible example that the peace dividend is working and I thank Aer Lingus for choosing us and Belfast International Airport for ensuring their vision became a reality.”

Adds That final paragraph I mentioned

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern said on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today that the Heathrow route was over-rated. “People have voted [against Heathrow] with their feet, and large numbers have gone to Paris, gone to Amsterdam – gone to other hubs, and that in my view is something that Shannon should be looking at.”

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  • Rory

    “Dr Paisley said: “…..there was stiff competition from another region to secure this deal. ”

    Such temperate language to descibe what once would have been ” a foreign enemy nation, steeped in papist idolatry, festering threateningly at our very threshold”.

    Did Blair give him a new script writer, I wonder, as part of the St Andrew’s climbdown package?

  • Pete Baker

    Rory

    I think you’ll find it’s a reference to Birmingham..

  • Wang Corr

    Where the hell IS everybody on this site today??? There’s been about 5 comments posted all day. It’s not people’s stock portfolios/pension funds evaporating that has everyone depressed I hope? Come on, chins up. As Ronan Keating so eloquently put it,

    “Don’t Viiiy-deeeehhht, Life is a rollercoaster, just gotta riiii–iii–de eeeehhht..”

  • Dermot Ahern is no doubt delighted since now people in North Louth have the choice of BFS or DUB with them more or less in the middle.

  • eleanorbull

    Look…the EU have been trying to do away with Shannon’s special ‘Stopover’ status for ages.

    When they do, do you think Continental, American, Delta or just about anyone else are going to land there? Or will the just go straight to Dublin anyway?

    Shannon was historically important…Atlantic refuelling and all that. Now it’s a hick, regional airport no more important than ‘GB Belfast City’.

    So AL has been regrouping its troops and looking for a UK hub. That’s ‘UK’ hub. Last time I looked, Shannon wasn’t in the UK…yet.

    In the new dispensation, Belfast -same island- makes more sense than Birmingham (Aldergrove has a better terminal and facilities than Brum ALREADY with the potential for more).

    So…they develop a UK hub…that’s ‘UK’ hub…and the fallout of it is 40 job losses and the Heathrow route. Big deal. Belfast lost its Heathrow route in the fallout of 9/11. Midland stepped in with the BHD-LHR route instead.

    Instead of all this constituency whinging, maybe the south’s politicians need to be pressing Ryanair for a SHN-LHR route.

    All this pitiful moaning does is make the TDs in question look parochial and anxious to keep the question of the black north at arm’s length.

    It’s great when the ‘Celtic Tiger’ is going THEIR way, but as soon as someone can challenge that with…if you will..an ‘orange tiger’, they don’t like it a bit.

    Stuff ’em.

  • sportsman

    Orange Tiger me ass. When the NI economy isnt dependent on London for 63p in every pound it “earns” then you may start dreaming of an orange tiger! Funny how Aer Lingus deciding to locate in Belfast is a victory for the orange tiger over the Celtic Tiger to you. Does the word “irony” have any meaning for you? Just like a couple of weeks back we had the excitement when B of Ireland decided to locate a facility in Belfast. Great progress of course that these two Republic of Ireland companies –thats REPUBLIC OF IRELAND— should locate in the 6 counties . I hope these and other investments from the ROI speed up the pace at which the north eastern economy reaches a sufficient level to ease the transition to a United Ireland.

  • eleanorbull

    “Does the word “irony” have any meaning for you?”

    Of course.

    “I hope these and other investments from the ROI speed up the pace at which the north eastern economy reaches a sufficient level to ease the transition to a United Ireland.”

    Like the introduction of Asda into Northern Ireland? Oh…they’re part of the happy Walmart family…so maybe a bad example.

    OK…Tescos?

    Or how about Ulster Television….that’s ULSTER television…hoovering up half of GB’s independent radio stations.

    It’s the global economy, stupid.

    These acquistions/takeovers or new markets happen all the time. AL in Belfast does not make for a tricolour over Stormont.

    “Does the word “irony” have any meaning for you?”

    We’ve covered that ‘point’, haven’t we?

  • Fraggle

    Mark Dowling, rofl, BHD may well be as close as DUB to Blackrock but I think the folk of Louth will choose the M1 over the dirt-track A1 and the clogged roundabout for some time to come.

  • Rory

    “I think you’ll find it’s a reference to Birmingham..”

    I was reflecting over supper, Pete, how really venal and snide my remarks were and really unworthy and your correction, I am afraid, only reinforces that reflection.

  • Southern Observer

    Last time I looked, Shannon wasn’t in the UK…yet.
    What’s all this Ellie? A reverse takeover?

  • Dewi
  • Aquifer

    “Or how about Ulster Television….that’s ULSTER television…hoovering up half of GB’s independent radio stations.”

    With cash flow from advertising to thousands of NI civil servants, undiluted by any cost of producing quality programming, UTV had a free hand.

    The local relicensing of the UTV cash cow was a disgrace. Paying millions to be patronised in a local accent is a really bad deal for a country that needed cultural challenge.

    Typical of the state dependent and manipulative behaviour of local ‘enterprises’. Many are really crap employers also, who would destroy their own business before they would give their employees a fair deal or scope to excel.

    To paraphrase Prince:

    This town needs an economic enema.

  • eleanorbull

    “The local relicensing of the UTV cash cow was a disgrace. Paying millions to be patronised in a local accent is a really bad deal for a country that needed cultural challenge.”

    I don’t think there were any real, viable alternatives. Do you?

    And what’s wrong with a ‘local accent’?

    I seem to remember the early days of ‘BCR’ -Belfast Community Radio- had programmes about jazz and blues, presented by enthusiastic amateurs, as well as community programmes about the Chinese and Indian communities (all speaking with local accents, natch).

    And what did they do? Rebranded it as ‘Citybeat’, another dreary Top 40 pap (no spelling mistake) station complete with nauseating ‘I’m mad…me!’ DJs with a mid-Atlantic twang.

    By contrast, some bloke wandering about Fermanagh meeting people fishing, and then making a 1/2 hour programme about it IS the cultural challenge, and not some homogenised, imported American ‘comedy’ programme that exists to attract more prestigious advertisers.

    I liked the fact that someone talked over ads for ‘Harry Corry’ curtains and it was made for about eight pence rather than a multi million coca-colonising flash/strobe/migraine/epileptic fit inducing soft drinks commercial.

  • eleanorbull

    “A reverse takeover?”

    Well, I was being a little naughty there.

    Some loons see this as evidence of creeping ‘Irishisation’ of the north and crow in those terms. To them, it’s an early indicator of a UI. Heh heh heh!!!!

    It’s a global economy. A Spanish company owns Aldergrove and it’s conceivable that a British company could buy Shannon.

    When applying the same argument, a British buy out of Shannon (Lord knows why anyone would want to…when the EC finally kill off its special stopover status no one will want to go there, other than maybe holiday charters) does not indicate a Union flag re-taking Connaught and Munster.

  • sportsman

    Eleanor; I remember you now from Debate Central; . Suffice to say that the inter-relationship between the two political groupings on this island are what matters. The majority group in 30 of the counties as against the majority grouping in 2 of the counties. If Tescos open stores in the ROI then it is not of constitutional importance as the UK is not engaged in a campaign to re-unite these islands politically. If a ROI company takes a piece of the NI economy it matters bacause this island is in effect a closed economy in this one area. You parrot on about globalisation without I feel really understanding what it means in terms of the economic relationship on this island. It is essentially irrelevant. This island with its two jurisdictions operates in a zero sum game where , in terms of a potential UI or not, an investment by a ROI company MUST weaken the union. And remember we are talking of many such investments here. Not simply the big ones that hit the 6 oclock news. Were NI to be 100% unionist it would not be so. But NI is about 45% nationalist so is inherently weak from within and as it is absorbed economically by the ROI the union becomes weaker.

  • eleanorbull

    “This island with its two jurisdictions operates in a zero sum game where , in terms of a potential UI or not, an investment by a ROI company MUST weaken the union.”

    What a load of tosh.

    Does the presence of John Lewis strengthen the Union?

    Or how about British Home Stores, a name so DANGEROUS and INFLAMMATORY that they had to be rebranded Home Stores in Dublin?

    Did their British investment presence threaten the independence of Ireland?

    I’ve no idea what you’re wittering on about. I suspect neither do you. In a global economy people invest for money-making purposes. Nike owns sweat shops in the Far East. Is that any reflection on the Great State of Nike taking over Jarkarta? AL is investing in Aldergrove for money. It’s the only politics they’re concerned with.

    If NI was 100% owned by Irish companies it wouldn’t “weaken the Union”. Only the votes of 50% + 1 would or will do that.

    AL’s decision to relocate was to establish a UK hub. That’s -UK- hub.

    The alternative destination was Birmingham for a UK hub. It’s all about repositioning troops when the EC kills off the special stopover status Shannon enjoys. Its time has past. It’s a regional airport now serving the Med charters and maybe a link to Dublin. Ryanair already flies to Gatwick, so I don’t see them doubling it with an LHR route. Do you?

    Are you suggesting that shamrock painted Boeings in Brum were going to weaken the UK?

    Thought not.

  • eleanorbull

    “Dermot Ahern is reported to be saying that the Heathrow route is over-rated”

    Fourteen year old Colleen says “I’m dumping you for Sammy”.

    Fifteen year old Dermot says “I never liked you anyway”.

    Has there ever been a more adolescent, pouting, huffy response from an alleged grown up in the history of politics?

    Go on, Dermot! Ask her out again when the Clearasil does its job.

    Muppet.

  • sportsman

    Oh dear. Eleanor did you actually read my post? Did you actually understand ANY of it? “does the presence of John Lewis strengthen the union?”. Sigh. I actually addressed that very aspect of the closed island economy situation. I am forced to conclude that my post went whistling way over your head. Pity as its an interesting debate. Any one out there with a brain cell from the unionist point of view wish to continue? Bye Eleanor. Isnt it time for Big Brother or something?

  • eleanorbull

    So what you’re saying is that AL is involved in some campaign to reunite the island of Ireland?

    You’re arguing that AL’s decision matters politically and John Lewis’s doesn’t?

    Any YOU are wittering on about “unionists” -nice labelling before you know where I stand- not having a brain cell?

    You’re a funny guy. Ha-ha, rather than peculiar.

  • sportsman

    No madam I am not saying AL is engaged in a campaign toward a UI. And I am not saying that John Lewis is engaged in strengthening the union. What I shall say however at the risk of being ungentlemanly is that you madam are a moron.

  • The real story here (apart from the fact everyone has missed what Aer Lingus’ move to Belfast is actually about in a frenzy of mutual back-slapping) is they way Fianna Fáil politicos and grassroots activists are outraged that routes are being transferred from an ‘Irish’ airport to a ‘Northern’ one. That’s Fianna Fáil as in, you know, “Fianna Fáil – the Republican Party”.

    Like it or not people in at least 21 of the 26 see people in the 6 as a bunch of wierd neanderthals who talk funny and have a propensity to ultraviolence. Not quite foreigners, but not quite PLUs either.

  • Dewi

    PLUs ? Sammy

  • Southern Observer

    “A reverse takeover?”

    Well, I was being a little naughty there.
    The whole thing is like Pygmalion, Ellie, with the south as Prof.Higgins.Let’s see if you can figure that one out.

  • Rory

    “What I shall say however at the risk of being ungentlemanly is that you madam are a moron.”

    Don’t worry, Sportsman, there is little risk that anyone might have considered you a gentleman ever. So your reputation as a boor is intact.

    A fear of engaging with women is a common syndrome among some men but the good news is that over years of therapy and honest self examination it is possible to overcome it.

  • Southern Observer

    Fianna Fáil politicos and grassroots activists are outraged that routes are being transferred from an ‘Irish’ airport to a ‘Northern’ one.
    Can you produce a quote where this precise phraseology is used,Sammy?
    Like it or not people in at least 21 of the 26 see people in the 6 as a bunch of wierd neanderthals who talk funny and have a propensity to ultraviolence.
    Not so,Sammy.Some may possibly see them as being afflicted with more than their fair share of ‘neanderthals’.
    Not quite foreigners, but not quite PLUs either.
    Perish the thought!
    I’m actually based about 15 miles from Shannon.The way I see it is that if I am serious about all-Irelandism then I will have to put my money where my mouth is.And if that means fewer weekends indulging my wife’s expensive tastes in Harrod’s then so be it.

  • I know I’ve been out-of-touch, and off-base for a few days, but …. am I the only one to have spotted the Sunday Tribune article [http://www.tribune.ie/article.tvt?_scope=Tribune/News/Home%20News&id=75484&SUBCAT=Tribune/News&SUBCATNAME=News]?

    This puts a value of €500M on Aer Lingus’s Heathrow ‘slots’: four on the Shannon route, five for Cork and 12 for Dublin. The Shannon flights have a couple of tasty morning and mid-evening slots as I recall. It doesn’t need a genius to recognise that those are gold-plated, and far too valuable for the culchies of Clare and Limerick.

    Or does that offend?

  • eleanorbull

    “I am forced to conclude that my post went whistling way over your head.”

    You seriously over-estimate your trajectory.

    It landed at my feet.

  • Dewi: PLUs = people like us.

    Southern Observer – tell your wife she’s being wripped off in that overpriced tat shop on Knightsbridge. She’s be much better off doing the boutiques on the King’s Road, if yousuns are lucky enough to have a credit card that stretches that far.

    Nope, nobody exactly uses that phrase but it’s obvious that’s the attitude that a lot of FFers are taking. As I said, the whole thing is overblown – we’re getting two new routes out of this and the rest of it is about Aer Lingus taking on Easyjet in one of their most profitable hubs.

    There is an argument that our gain up here is disproportionate to the Mid-West’s loss, if you’re taking an all-Ireland view; remember, we already have a Heathrow service from George Best. As a Nordie, I’ll take whatever investment is coming, though. As long as Heathrow is running at 97% capacity, slots will be like gold dust.

  • eleanorbull

    I’m still hoping someone can explain how a ‘UK’ hub relates to a ‘closed island economy’, since a ‘UK’ hub (for which the alternative was Brum) would appear to have anything to do with the economy of the (smaller) island.

  • Brian Boru

    As a Southerner I have mixed feelings on this. My heart says this is an outrageous betrayal of Shannon and the hundreds or even thousands of jobs which may (or may not for that matter) be threatened by this decision. But my head is telling me that if we mean what we say about wanting an All-Ireland economy, then we will have to concede on this – after all what signal would a national govt interfering in the market send to multinational investors? I wonder was it really so necessary though for such a far-reaching decision as this? Most of the flights from Shannon-Heathrow were en-route to destinations on the Continent anyway, and that might mean that some of this is overblown. I hope the talks with Easyjet to provide a new Heathrow flight are successful – I read somewhere that Easyjet were waiting for an executive to come home from holidays before a final decision is made. I’ve heard in the media that a lot of people/businesses are trying to avoid Heathrow anyway because of overcrowding and related problems.

  • Brian Boru @ 02:33 PM:

    The only great fallacy there is that Easyjet want in to Heathrow: it cuts against the whole low-cost concept.

    If, as you suggest, much of the Shannon-Heathrow traffic is en-route for continental destinations, then a Shannon-Paris CdeG or (even more so) a Shannon-Schiphol link makes more sense. And, in that context, I note that the original Aer Lingus press release seemed to make a play about the Aldergrove-Schiphol link (see http://www.uk-airport-news.info/belfast-airport-news-070807.htm)

    Might one speculate? Assume the use of Aldergrove is a success (and it will be). At some point, in the expand-or-die market that is European air transport, Aer Lingus will need a permanent presence in continental Europe, almost certainly not too far from the Benelux centre.

    And a reasonable suspicion is that such expansion may well be complementary to Easyjet, but spitting in the eye of Ryanair.

  • Not really relevant, but thanks to all you so-and-sos, I’ve just discovered one of the more remarkable (and chilling) websites going.

    Go to http://lhr.webtrak-lochard.com/template/index.html

    This shows the air traffic movements at Heathrow in 5sec increments. By clicking an aircraft, one can recognise its type, speed, height etc.

    That’s the fun part.

    Now assume there are aircraft not on the plot (for example police, privateers, those into London City?). Remember where you’re sitting (and, right now, I’m under the flight path).

    Suddenly I’m sweating.

  • One simple and clear element has not been mentioned. Aer Lingus staff in this country do exist. Aer Lingus is an international conglomerate organisation of many national companies.

    Is the intention of the first laid Belfast pay proposals to bring change to the existing British remuneration plans which are in existence, or simply to put new Belfast staff in line with other British staff, or to create a new British remuneration scheme which would be different to that of English staff?

    The economies in the two countries are not identical and the floodgates argument is well suited: were there to be new staff in Bulgaria, would their salaries be demanded to be the same as those of Dublin pilots, or would that demand be made for the North West of that country only? National salary levels are determined by national economies and remuneration levels.

    There may be good reasons why the Irish model should be used in the United Kingdom and now may be a good time to employ this model in this country. The lack of clarity as to this simple issue in many press reports, I imagine stems from that communication from Aer Lingus has been minimal.

    I am surprised that little comment in the press has been made as to the unusual nature of such an international remuneration argument, unusual even here, where there are special international affiliations.

    I am surprised that reportage has not drawn attention to the remuneration of existing British employees. It is unreported as yet in all I have read if Aer Lingus’s proposals are for standard British remuneration, whether or not such an argument is a good thing.

    It took me a while to figure out what Mr. Ahern meant about the Shannon route. I thought: I don’t know why Shannon should be looking at going to Paris or Amsterdam like possible London bound travellers. But the literal meaning seemed to be more realistic than creating a new European capital city in the middle of the Irish countryside. No, I see, it’s that people who operate airplanes have gone away from Heathrow. But what could Heathrow Airport have possibly done wrong? Less drugs nearby is all I can think of, or choosing to locate where there aren’t enough arthouse cinemas, perhaps. Heathrow is recorded as the busiest airport in Europe in terms of passenger traffic though Amsterdam and Paris main airports have more cargo and Paris Charles De Gaulle has more frequent plane movement. Though I can’t really see a great amount of difference for Mr. Ahern to disfavour Heathrow, especially with expected expansion.

  • I don’t know what Malcolm Redfellow means in #6, speculate about what?

    People would fly to Shannon from Amsterdam and then fly to Belfast? Yes, some will if a route comes into existence.

    Aer Lingus have flown to and from Amsterdam Schiphol for years. (A good number of airlines have). What would make it an Aer Lingus hub?

    Direct flights between Belfast and Amsterdam are not new.

    Regarding a route between Shannon and Belfast, that would be very good for us. It takes ages to get there by road.

    A great Web link, Malcolm.