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Government decision on state assets a mistake – Adams

22 February, 2012 - by Gerry Adams

The Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has accused the government of “hiding behind the Troika” in its decision to sell off €3 billion of state assets.

Speaking during Leaders Questions this morning the Sinn Féin leader also attacked the government for holding a press conference outside the Dáil to release details of its planned sell-off of state assets and not telling the Dáil first.

He said:

“This is a matter that should have come into this chamber first to discuss. It is an indictment of the government that I gave details of this planned sell-off to the chamber instead of Minister Howlin or the Taoiseach.”

Speaking after Leaders Questions Deputy Adams said:

“There is no commitment in the Memorandum of Understanding with the Troika for the sell-off of state assets. Sinn Féin has met with the Troika and they told us that while they believe in privatisation, that the Memorandum of Understanding does not bind Fine Gael and Labour to this sell-off of state assets. This is a decision taken by the government.

“Claims that this will provide funding for job creation have to be set against the government’s decision to give away taxpayers money to unguaranteed bondholders and bad banks, including €3.1 billion to Anglo-Irish bank at the end of March.

“The government is selling off successful self-financing state companies such as Bord Gais’s energy business and some elements of the ESB’s power generation capacity, as well as the possible sale of some assets of Coillte and the state’s remaining shares in Aer Lingus.

“These successful state companies should be part of a job creation strategy that is part and parcel of the solution in creating jobs and delivering growth. They shouldn’t be sold off to private interests whose sole interest is profit.

“It is a myth that privatisation and deregulation brings competitiveness and efficiency. In reality it was the right wing deregulation strategies of Thatcher and Reagan and others in the 1980s and the growing gap these policies created between the rich and poor that led to the current economic crisis.

“The pattern wherever privatisation has been pursued and profitable state companies have been sold off is one of job losses, increased prices for consumers and big profits for private speculators. Labour should be ashamed of their endorsement of this right wing conservative economic philosophy.”

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