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Ferris demands assurances on sale of Coillte

14 December, 2010 - by Martin Ferris TD

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture Martin Ferris TD raised reports of the possible sale of Coillte under Order of Business in the Dáil this afternoon. The Kerry North/Limerick West TD asked the Taoiseach whether the Government was intending to introduce legislation to sell off state assets such as forestry, and if he would give assurances that such a sell off was not being contemplated as part of the IMF programme.

Deputy Ferris said:

“There have been indications that a private company, of which former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is Chairperson, has expressed an interest in buying up the forestry under the control of Coillte should it be privatised.

“That was the recommendation of the McCarthy Report and there are strong fears that the Government will move to sell off state assets as part of the overall IMF programme. Such a fire sale of those assets would be completely unacceptable and would represent a further humiliation of this country, creating further long term economic damage, in the interests of a discredited elite. Indeed, it would be doubly offensive if some of the beneficiaries of such a move were individuals who were prominently involved in landing us in this mess in the first instance.” ENDS

Note to editor: In a written response to a question from Deputy Ferris, the Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith said that the review of state assets and their possible sale was yet to be completed.

In reply to Deputy Ferris the Taoiseach said that there as yet was no bid on the table for Coillte but he did not state that such a sale of state assets would not take place.

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