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Adams attacks Labour acquiescence to sale of state assets

13 October, 2011 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD today slammed the Labour Party’s failure to defend state assets during a debate in the Dáil.

Teachta Adams pointed out that the “advocates of privatisation argue that this will boost the state’s revenues. It is short-termist thinking.

“The same short-termist thinking that the Labour Party rejected in their election manifesto at the time of the General Election when they said:

‘Labour is committed to the concept of public enterprise, and is determined to ensure that semi-state companies play a full role in the recovery of the Irish economy.

‘Labour is opposed to short-termist privatisation of key state assets, such as Coillte or the energy network.’

“That what’s what Labour got a mandate to do and in government they are doing the opposite.

“Someone once said that the Labour Party went into the GPO in 1916 and never came out again.

“Surely if there is any purpose to the Labour Party, the self proclaimed party of James Connolly and the Irish workers, being in Government with Fine Gael it is to stand up for the rights of the ordinary worker. It is to be the voice of the marginalised, the dispossessed.

“Instead the Labour Party seems to have embraced fully the right wing privatisation agenda of its coalition partner.”

And the Sinn Féin leader, who stated Sinn Féin’s opposition to the sale of state assets, warned that even a “partial sale of state assets will be the first step towards full privatization, with inevitable job losses and increased costs for consumers.”

He said: “Public control of strategic assets such as the ESB and Bord Gais is about much more than our economic recovery in the short term. It’s about our very survival as an island nation into the future.

“Bord na Móna, Bord Gáis and the ESB are profitable companies and of undeniable strategic importance.

“A partial sale will be the first step towards full privatization, with inevitable job losses and increased costs for consumers. The privatization of critical infrastructure in Ireland and abroad has been an unmitigated disaster for society.

“Look at the examples of our nearest neighbours. In Britain, for example, the Royal Mail had to be bought back by the state such was the scale of the disaster and the experience of that privatisation. The privatisation of British Rail also came at enormous cost and because it was done so poorly, in some cases, it literally cost lives. There was no proper consequent maintenance of the railway lines.

“Companies came in to asset strip, not to invest. Following privatisation Eircom was quickly asset stripped and in just a few short years Ireland fell down the league table of investment in broadband roll-out with very real, negative and lasting consequences for the Irish economy.

“When Critical infrastructure is in public hands it can be deployed strategically to grow the economy.” ENDS

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