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Selling state’s wealth makes no sense: McDonald

16 May, 2012 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD


Sinn Féin Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald TD has described the Government’s commitment to selling off state assets as a “bad economic policy that actively works against the public interest”.

Deputy McDonald said:
“Selling off what is left of the state’s wealth makes no sense. Even if the Government’s projected €3 billion income from the sales are realised these monies are a drop in the ocean of the state’s overall financial liabilities which stand at €109.7 billion.

“Austerity is not working. Flogging off valuable strategic state assets for a quick buck is not a decision made in the public interest. What will work and is in the public interest is an ambitious investment package focussing on infrastructure and new enterprises.

“Sinn Féin has long called on the Government to match investment from the European Investment Bank with monies from the discretionary portfolio of the National Pension Reserve Fund and investment from the private pension sector to fund a significant stimulus package.

“Strategic state assets should be the engine to economic recovery. The ESB and Bord Gáis have delivered first world energy infrastructure to homes and businesses for generations. Both companies can still access the financial markets and are currently engaged in exciting and innovative renewable energy and broadband projects.

“Bord na Mona and Coillte are also playing a vital role is ensuring the State meets it renewable energy targets. Renewables are the new frontier of energy supply but unless Government works with semi state companies through enhanced investment and progressive policy making Ireland’s energy security will be fundamentally undermined.

“Eircom and the states broadband deficit have taught us that handing over responsibility for critical infrastructure to private interests doesn’t work. The State inevitably has to step in but gets left with the unprofitable parts of the business.

“Breaking up or selling off successful strategic state assets is a failed policy that works against the public interest. If we want bang for our buck and are serious about economic recovery we need to invest in our country, not flog it off bit by bit.” ENDS

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