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Commercial semi-states have the potential to drive economic recovery, but action must be taken to tackle exorbitant salaries – McDonald

12 June, 2011 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin’s Public Expenditure & Reform Spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald TD has welcomed the financial statements of the ESB for 2010 noting the State benefited from a €77m dividend bringing the total dividends paid out over the last nine years to €1.2 billion.

However Deputy McDonald noted that the exorbitant salaries of semi state top brass still remains an issue and must be properly addressed.

The Sinn Féin Deputy Leader said:

“Semi-state companies make an important financial, economic and social contribution to the State. Whilst the State's dividend was down from 2009, the ESB contributed €2.2 billion to the Irish economy through purchases from Irish suppliers, taxes, rates, wages and dividends.

Despite the economic challenges investment in infrastructure remained high, unlike Eircom, which continues to be dogged by a decade of under investment following privatisation. 

“Commercial semi-state companies should be the engine of Ireland’s economic recovery, yet Fine Gael and Labour astonishingly intend to make the very same mistakes as Fianna Fáil. Plans to unbundle the ESB’s transmission and distribution assets will significantly deplete
the company’s ability to fund reinvestment. Asset stripping semi-state companies that deliver critical services and supplies to the people as proposed by the McCarthy report is bad business. Unbundling will have the same effect. 

“Reports in the media today that Government intends to cap the exorbitant salaries of some semi-state top brass at €250,000 is to be welcomed, but it does not go far enough. It is also disappointing that cuts to existing semi-state bosses pay will be voluntary.” 

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