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Ferris claims postal bill lays basis for breaking up and selling off of An Post

31 March, 2011 - by Martin Ferris TD

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Communications Martin Ferris has claimed that the Postal Services Bill before the Dáil will if passed lay the basis for the breaking up and selling off of An Post. The Kerry North/Limerick West TD was speaking during the debate on the Bill which was introduced by the former government and has been reintroduced by Fine Gael and Labour.

Deputy Ferris said: “This Bill is, as I said when I spoke on this before the break up of the previous government, a charter for the breaking up and the ultimate privatisation of postal services throughout the EU. That has already been proven by what is taking place at the moment in Britain.

“The danger of privatisation of course has significantly increased since the adoption of the IMF/EU austerity programme. The Memorandum of Understanding that underpins the programme contains a clear statement of intent with regard to the selling off of state companies.

“The Government has already committed itself to selling off €2 billion in state assets. They have said that these will be ‘non strategic assets’ but that means very little. The simple fact of the matter is that the only assets that private companies will be interested in buying will be profitable ones.

“In the case of An Post that will mean that when the company is divided up and if it is put up for sale then obviously private operators will want to buy those parts that are profitable and that will mean the off loading and or running down of non profitable parts including rural postal deliveries.

“The government has also said that it will be guided in its assessment of which state companies or parts of state companies are to be sold off by the report of the review group on state assets and liabilities which was chaired by Professor Colm McCarthy.

“That report seems to have been delayed for some reason with one suggestion being that this had to do with the down grading of An Bord Gáis debt rating. Clearly then the report has closely examined the financial state of state companies with a view to how and when they might be sold off.

“An Post is one of the state companies that has been subject to the review so it will be interesting to see what Professor McCarthy has to recommend in relation to it. Going by his An Bord Snip Nua report we may expect that this report will take a similar right wing view in relation to the state sector.

“It is vital then, as I have said before and as I have requested in questions to the Minister for Finance that the report is made publically available as soon as it is received by the government and that we have a full debate here and involving the workers representatives in those companies likely to be affected on its findings and recommendations before they are acted upon.

“Given that An Post is one of the companies subject to the review by the McCarthy report, it is possible that we are debating this bill not knowing the full picture. It is possible indeed that this legislation if passed might be over ridden by the report if it recommends as it might very well do, a breaking up and selling of An Post.

“That is something that Deputies on all sides need to bear in mind as we debate this bill and I would particularly ask that members of the Labour Party do so given their commitments to the postal workers that they would protect jobs and services.”

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