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Ferris welcomes O'Malley's conversion

9 November, 2006

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Natural Resources, Martin Ferris TD has claimed that a call by PD TD Fiona O'Malley on the Government to force the ESB to reduce its prices reveal a major contradiction in the coalitions approach to the electricity sector. Deputy O'Malley claimed in the Dáil last night that the ESB was increasing its prices in preparation for privatisation and called for the company to be run on a not-for-profit basis.

The Kerry north TD said: "Fiona O'Malley may well be right when she says that the ESB is preparing for privatisation and that is one of the main factors in the company raising its prices. Her claim that 'management of both companies (Bord Gáis and ESB) could be accused of operating as utilities in search of privatisation and this has resulted in unnecessarily high prices for consumers' is, after all, something Sinn Féin and unions in the ESB have been saying for some time.

"However, it is a bit disingenuous for her to be doing so given that her party has been the main ideological advocate of the rampant privatisation of public companies, democratically owned by the Irish people. Those of us familiar with the experience of privatisation of utilities in Britain for example, have long pointed out the fact that domestic consumers pay the price, both literally and in terms of declining services.

"I am delighted to welcome her call for the ESB to abandon its proposed 20% increase and trust that she will ensure that this proposal is brought to the Cabinet table as it would indeed constitute a considerable relief to tens of thousands of households caught in fuel poverty. I am also pleased to see she is ruling out privatisation of the company for the foreseeable future and for the business to be run on a not-for-profit basis and look forward to her maintaining this position into the future.

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