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Concern at UUP intervention in possible ESB takeover of NIE

13 November, 2006

Sinn Féin Economy spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin has questioned the motivation of UUP leader Reg Empey in calling for intervention in the possible ESB takeover of NIE.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"I think Reg Empey's call for British government intervention to block any proposed takeover of NIE by the Irish government owned ESB is misguided.

"Clearly NIE's parent company Viridian is the subject of takeover by Bahrain investment bank Arcapita and there are now reports that Arcapita may be seeking to sell-off NIE and that ESB may be interested.

"While Sinn Féin would welcome any move that takes us closer to a single electricity market, the fact is that this is already proceeding. We would also look favourably on any move that brings a public utility out of private ownership and back into public hands so that decisions can be made in the interests of the consumer and not the shareholder.

"The criteria that any takeover, particularly of a public utility must be judged against are that it is in the interests of the consumer." ENDS

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