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Public services are not for sale - Mary Lou McDonald

21 February, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has today said that the European Commission is "intent on turning public services into private enterprises".

Ms McDonald made her comments before a debate in the European Parliament on Competition Policy within the European Union. A report is due to be delivered by Jonathan Evans MEP later this evening which supports moves by the European Commission to further privatise public services.

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms McDonald said:

"Sinn Féin is opposed to the privatisation of public services. Clearly there are those within the European Union who are attempting to drive through an agenda which would see essential public services like health and education opened up to the highest bidder.

"On the 8th February 2005, the European Commission published a report which suggested that the opening up of the services market could bring significant economic growth to the EU. Alongside the controversial Services Directive, this is another indication of the right-ward shift of the European Commission.

"Sinn Féin believes that the on-going process of the privatisation of public services has not brought any visible gains to the public, rather it has led to price increases, a marked decrease in the service provided and increases in the cost of provision according to consumer associations. In addition, this process contributes to destroying jobs and the creation of private monopolies.

"On this basis, both I and my colleague Bairbre de Brún will be voting against this report and opposing further moves to integrate Competition policy into EU legislation. Sinn Féin will continue to demand that public services are protected against the relentless drive toward privatisation." ENDS

Note to Editor

Mary Lou McDonald is a member of the EU Committee of Employment and Social Affairs

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