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Ferris calls for clarification on sale of state assets

8 March, 2011 - by Martin Ferris TD

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on natural resources Martin Ferris TD has called on the new Government to immediately provide clarification on what it defines as ‘non strategic’ state assets. He was responding to the commitment in the Programme for Government to sell off up to €2 billion of state assets.

Deputy Ferris said:

“Given that a recent estimate put the value of state assets at €10 billion, what in effect we are looking at here is the selling off of one fifth of state companies and their assets. Not only will the proceeds of this be used to pay back the bank debt, but it will also entail further job losses and further diminish the ability of the state to initiate any stimulus package.

"While the term ‘non strategic’ is designed to lull people into believing that the state will be off-loading loss making entities, the reality is that private investors will only be interested in buying up profit making companies or parts of companies. That means that An Post, the ESB, Bus Eireann, Dublin Bus and other public companies are in whole or in part at risk.

"The fact that the programme states that it will follow the recommendations of the McCarthy group on state assets, whose report is due to be delivered, is a further cause for concern. Colm McCarthy has already indicated his desire to see a large scale sell off of state assets and it is likely that this will form the centre of his new report.

“I would also like to see the new Government state in black and white that there will be no sale of Coillte, or of any of its land or forestry. The Programme for Government says that Coillte will be merged with Bord na Mona but that is not sufficient guarantee. The Government needs to back both Fine Gael and Labour’s election promise to prevent a sell off of Coillte with actions.” ENDS

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