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Sinn Féin publishes Dáil motion rejecting government plans to sell off stake in ESB

19 September, 2011 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

The Sinn Féin Dáil team have published a Private Members' motion on the Labour/Fine Gael Government's decision to sell a stake in the ESB.

The motion recognises the success of the ESB, its strategic importance to the State and calls on the Government to rescind its commitment to a programme of state asset disposals.

Speaking ahead of the Dáil debate Sinn Féin Deputy Leader and public expenditure and reform spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald said:

"The government's decision to sell off a stake in the ESB is an unnecessary and damaging fiscal measure. It is driven by an agenda of privatisation, supported by government and enforced by the EU/IMF Programme.

"Selling off a sizable chunk in the ESB will over time weaken investment in the network, increase prices and undermine the State’s strategic ability to manage its own energy needs.

"The ESB is self-financing, has paid €1.2 billion in dividends over the last nine years and contributed €2.2 billion to the Irish economy through purchases from Irish suppliers, taxes, rates, wages and dividends in 2010. This is not small change.

"Commercial semi states built up industry in this State and can again be used as a vehicle to foster and deliver sustainable innovation, training and job activation measures during the recessionary period and beyond.

Selling off the States most valuable assets to make a quick buck to pay off private debt is a gross mismanagement of the State’s remaining wealth.

"IMF programmes and EU policy-making promotes widespread privatisation of state companies and public services yet this agenda does not result in a positive outcome for citizens."

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