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Ferris opposes plans to privatise ESB

24 January, 2005

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Energy, Martin Ferris TD, has voiced his opposition to plans to sell off the ESB. Minister Noel Dempsey claims that this will be one of the options explored in a review of the Irish energy market with the aim of securing supplies and protecting the interests of consumers.

Deputy Ferris said: "Sinn Féin is opposed to the selling off of state assets. We do not believe that there are economic justifications from either the point of view of the consumer or the state, and indeed there is evidence from other countries that consumers suffer from the privatisation of utilities. I would question the motivation for any possible move in that direction given what we now know of the background to the proposed break-up of Aer Lingus.

"Too often it appears that privatisation is either seen as a means whereby big business can cannibalise enterprises built up through long years of state investment, or else as part of an ideologically driven agenda. It is no secret that the junior right wing partner in the current coalition favours radical measures to reduce the involvement of the state in many areas. The question is whether that right wing agenda ought to be the one that dictates Government policy, especially given the Taoiseach's recent claims to be on the left and indeed in the light of Fianna Fáil's historical support for state enterprise." ENDS

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