According to an interview with EI's incoming CEO, current Emirates executive Dermot Mannion has said that Aer Lingus is likely to look at the option of starting an Asian service. He gave no further info, although as you may recall, this has been discussed on this forum in the past.
The bad news is that even if the Irish govt approves a share sale for Aer Lingus, the earliest the airline might be able to engage in an IPO might be 2006. The airline needs the IPO to raise money for its fleet. It will do so in the face of stiff union opposition. There will be good news for EI next week, however, with the relaxation of the Shannon stopover policy. Depending on the pace of this, it should allow Aer Lingus to expand significantly the level of its t/a operations. I'm not sure how soon EI can expand, because it's well nigh impossible to get suitable aircraft, but this in itself provides an excellent opportunity for Boeing or Airbus to make themselves partners in EI's growth plan.
Given yesterday's news and Boeing's success in clearing Airbus widebodies out of one major Airbus operator (and one with all the advantages of commonality arising from an Airbus s/h fleet), one can't rule out Boeing trying very hard for this.