Imagine a private corporation closes down its operations in Ireland, leaving several hundred skilled workers on the dole.
Imagine the corporation asks if anyone else wants to take over its operations before it leaves, but gets no takers before it pulls out.
Imagine the Office of Public Works steps in, offers to buy the corporation’s plant and machinery, then continues looking for Irish companies to take over.
Imagine the OPW manages to get a few takers, and leases some of the plant and machinery.
Then imagine that another company comes along, and decides it wants some of the plant the OPW has already leased.
Imagine that this latercomer calls in a few political favours, and the Minister in charge instructs the OPW to break the leasing contracts it has set up, take back the plant and machinery it has already leased, and give it to the latecomer, a competitor of the company which took out the lease in good faith.
Imagine the unholy row that would break out about crony capitalism. Imagine how much criticism the Minister would get for interfering in commercial decisions.
But imagine the latecomer is Ryanair, the Minister is Mary Coughlan, and normal rules no longer apply.