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Labour bending the knee to Fine Gael’s privatisation agenda – McDonald

29 September, 2011 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald TD has accused the Government of hiding behind false promises of job creation and investment in its effort to progress a programme of wholesale privatisation of the State’s public assets.

Responding to the Tánaiste’s announcement in the Dáil that the Government intends to set up a new unit within the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) to manage the semi state shareholdings Deputy McDonald said:

“The Programme for Government’s commitment to sell €2 billion in non-strategic assets appears now to have morphed into a €5 billion fire sale of the state’s family silver. Not only has Labour bent the knee to the troika it has also bent the knee to Fine Gael’s privatisation agenda.

“Semi states have a role to play in the State’s recovery. Jobs can be created, training provided, dividends paid to the public purse and infrastructure developed to meet the needs of an innovative 21st century economy.

“Privatisation in part or in whole of state assets does not make sense, even less so when such measures are used to pay off debt, primarily bad bank debt. Even advocates of partial privatisation have criticised the Government’s plans as the monies raised and the policy implemented will not be done with the intent of improving the performance or quality of semi states products and services.

“Labour and Fine Gael in Government are making bad choices that are not in the public interest. Instead of investing in a widespread job creation programme this Government has instead committed the State to paying off Anglo/INBS bad banking debt until 2025.

“Instead of properly investing in innovation, education, and next generation broadband this Government will borrow over three billion euro each year to pay off the debts of Anglo and INBS. The interest alone on the State’s borrowings for Anglo would clear the budget deficit, and still leave monies to invest in critical infrastructure and job creation measures.” ENDS

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