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Selling off State assets to pay off bank debts is a bad deal for citizens and the economy

22 February, 2012 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald TD has described Minister Brendan Howlin’s state asset disposal announcement as a bad deal for citizens and the State’s economic future.

Deputy McDonald said:

“Selling off parts of successful self-financing commercial State companies is a bad policy decision made by Fine Gael and Labour, despite their best efforts to lay the blame for their decision at the door of the Troika. If this Government was serious about job creation and reinvestment in the economy it would not be paying out tens of billions of citizens hard earned cash to unguaranteed Anglo bondholders.

“Fine Gael and Labour could pursue investment monies from the European Investment Bank. This Government could use the remaining monies from the National Pension Reserve Fund to invest in health infrastructure, home retrofitting and a capital investment stimulus programme. These measures would deliver employment and critically could significantly reduce the State’s soaring structural unemployment levels.

“Both the ESB and Bord Gáis are wealth generating self-financing companies that have invested heavily in first world energy infrastructure across the island and created thousands of good jobs benefitting hundreds of thousands of families over the decades.

“Fine Gael and Labour’s decision to treat the profitable elements of these companies as a cash cow for bank debt reduction makes no economic sense and reflects the kind of short term policy and political decision making that got us into this economic mess in the first place. State assets should be used strategically to drive the economy, create jobs and provide re-skilling and training opportunities for those out of work.

“Selling off Coillte’s harvesting rights to a private company that will buy up the asset, take down our trees and leave our land barren has to be questioned. The State’s remaining twenty five per cent stake in Aer Lingus is worth a tiny fraction of the target figure and is certainly not worth the government of an island State forfeiting its voice on how its primary airline is run.” ENDS

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