Enda Kenny: Airline will enhance connectivity to Republic
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Republic's government has been careful to secure the best deal for the country and declared his confidence that the European Commission would approve the sell-off of Aer Lingus.
"This deal is the best means of securing and enhancing this country's connectivity with the rest of the world and maintaining a vibrant and competitive air transport industry in this country," he said.
Mr Kenny said the proposed agreement would ensure "stronger and more durable guarantees" than currently exist on routes in and out of Ireland as well as on the Aer Lingus brand and its corporate headquarters being based in Dublin.
"People will see Aer Lingus as it always was, although it has not been the national airline for quite a number of years," he added.
A vote may be taken today, and looks more likely to be passed after a number of sceptical backbenchers in the junior coalition partner Irish Labour party signalled their happiness with the latest commitments given by IAG.
However, the opposition has hit out at a "done deal" which they argue is anti-competitive, bad for consumers and claim is being pushed through parliament.
Mr Kenny hit back at claims from Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin that he was trying "ram through" the sale, and said the Fianna Fail-led government in 2006 sold the lion's share of Aer Lingus without thought for what would happen to Heathrow Airport slots.