Saturday, September 15, 2007

Des O'Malley renounces core PD philosophy

On Friday (14th Sept) Des O’Malley had a letter published in the Irish Times calling for Government intervention in order to ensure retention of the Aer Lingus Shannon-Heathrow service.

The current situation, and the Government’s decision not to intervene, is an obvious outworking of the free-market philosophy so strongly espoused by the Progressive Democrats during their last decade in Government.

O’Malley‘s plea might be more compelling if he was not the man most responsible for the creation of that party and its “let the market decide” philosophy.

If he’s still a member of the PDs he should resign immediately in protest at the Govt‘s action. If not, he should be expelled. What a laugh that would be!

It just goes to prove the old Tip O’Neill adage that “all politics are local”. O’Malley is from Limerick and his daughter may well try for a Dail seat there at the next general election. She lost her seat in Dun Laoghaire last May, and there’s a strong chance that Dun Laoghaire will be reduced from five to four seats next time around.

O'Malley's Letter
Madam, - I spent a good part of my political career seeking to encourage inward manufacturing investment. I had some success.

I realise, therefore, the vital importance of a frequent schedule of air services between the west of Ireland and Heathrow. That overcrowded and unpopular airport is nonetheless Ireland's best point of contact with the rest of the world because of its onward connections.

The termination of services from Shannon to Heathrow will have its greatest effect in making it much more difficult to attract that kind of investment in the future. Apart from the loss of existing jobs, thousands of jobs that might have been created will not materialise. It will be impossible to quantify what might have happened. As a result, those who cause this situation will claim that they are not to blame.

The Shannon region was, and is, one of the few successes in real decentralisation we have. Will it now remain so? Spending hundreds of millions moving junior civil servants down the country is no substitute for real economic activity.

The Minister for Transport, among others, is espousing a version of company law with which I am not familiar. He seems to think that management is supreme, to the exclusion of all others. The Companies Acts envisage the board of directors as responsible for the actions of a company. The board in turn is answerable to the shareholders. The shareholders have the ultimate sanction of dismissing the board if they disagree with the company's policy.

Why retain a blocking minority if it is not going to be used to stop the very sort of thing that we were told it was kept for in the first place? President Sarkozy retained for the French state a blocking minority of shares in the recent merger of Suez and Gaz de France. Does anyone think he would refuse to use it in a similar situation to this? - Yours, etc,

DESMOND O'MALLEY, Merrion Road, Dublin 4.

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