23. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he or any State agency has tendered for an adviser in relation to the State’s 25% shareholding in Aer Lingus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57217/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): This question concerns the Government’s shareholding in Aer Lingus.

A Steering Group has been established to examine the potential options for the disposal of the State’s shareholding in Aer Lingus and the issues that may need to be addressed in the context of the disposal of this shareholding. The Steering Group is chaired by my Department and comprises representatives from the Department of Finance, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and NewERA.

NewERA has provided advice to date to the relevant Government Departments, including in relation to valuation of the Government’s shareholding in Aer Lingus. In order to further assist the Inter Departmental Steering Group in considering the options with respect to the State’s shareholding in Aer Lingus, I can confirm that NewERA has recently tendered for the appointment of an adviser to undertake additional analyses focused on evaluating the options for a disposal taking account of the need to maximise the return for the Exchequer whilst protecting the interests of the consumer and preserving a competitive environment.