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Labour turns its back on commitments to retain State assets in public ownership

23 February, 2012 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Speaking in the Dáil this morning Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD accused the Tánaiste of turning his back on Labours general election commitments to retain State assets in public ownership.

Deputy McDonald said:

“During the general election of 2011 the Labour party stated proudly its opposition to short termism privatisation of key State assets. Labour committed itself to the concept of public enterprise and its determination to ensure that semi-State companies played a full role in the recovery of the Irish economy.

“It’s less than a year since the general election and we have two Labour Party Ministers presiding over the sell-off of key elements of Ireland's energy companies, possibly of Coillte and of the remaining State stake in Aer Lingus.

“The government’s record over the past year has been deplorable. It has cut teachers from schools, nurses from hospitals, social welfare payments and CE schemes. Now Labour has turned its gaze to the peoples’ family silver.

“Just yesterday SIPTU leader Jack O’Connor described the government’s decision on State assets a sad day for the Irish people and a tragedy for the Labour Party. The union leader’s words reflect the disappointment of many people who voted for the Labour Party at the general election.

“Why are successful, self-financing State companies that are such a positive for the economy to be disposed of? How can the Labour Party claim that infrastructure, particularly relating to energy, is anything but strategic, necessary and a vital lever for the State and government in the economic recovery we all wish to see?

“Fine Gael Ministers have been mightily flattered by the Tánaiste and his party in government. All the goals in the net accrue to Fine Gael and the troika, in that order. If the Tánaiste was serious about investment in the economy and a finance stream to invest in jobs he would use the National Pension Reserve Fund to this end.

“Previous sales of State assets prove that the privatisation of utilities is not in fact the panacea of perfect competition. The Tánaiste knows well that these policy decisions are indefensible, short-term and reckless.” ENDS

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