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Dáil Éireann - Private Members Business (Sinn Féin) 21 and 22 September 2011

 Motion re the ESB and the Disposal of State Assets.


“That Dáil Éireann:
— recognises that the ESB is self-financing, has paid €1.2 billion in dividends over the last nine years and contributed €2.2 billion to the Irish economy through purchases from Irish suppliers, taxes, rates, wages and dividends in 2010;
— further recognises that the ESB is of long-term strategic importance to the State’s energy supply, in providing skilled employment, training opportunities and a variety of energy and telecommunications services and could play an extended role in the area of telecommunications by using its existing networks to address the State’s broadband deficit;
— acknowledges that throughout the current economic and financial crisis the ESB’s investment in infrastructure has remained high, unlike Eircom, which continues to be dogged by a decade of under-investment following privatisation resulting in the State remaining below the EU15 and OECD average of broadband penetration per capita;
— notes that Ireland is lagging at least three to five years behind competitor countries in terms of rolling out infrastructure capable of high speed next generation broadband;

— welcomes the Government’s decision to accept the recommendations of the Cahill/Frontier Report, entitled Transmission Asset Analysis, against unbundling the ESB’s transmission and distribution assets;
— asserts that the Programme for Government commitment to target up to €2 billion in sales of so-called ‘non-strategic’ State assets drawing from the recommendations of the McCarthy Review Group is an unnecessary and damaging fiscal measure driven by a privatisation agenda;
— believes that commercial semi-State companies should not be privatised in part or in whole;
— asserts that semi-State companies can play a vital role in delivering employment activation measures and training;
— affirms that, as a small open economy, State control of strategic State assets and service provision including but not exclusive to public transport, aviation, ports, forestry, water supply, broadcasting, postal services, energy supply, telecommunications is central to the future security, prosperity of the economy and society, and environmental protection of the island;
— rejects the Government’s decision to sell off a minority stake in the ESB;
— mandates the Government to inform the EU/IMF/ECB that it will rescind its commitment to a programme of State asset disposals; and
— calls for dividends paid to the State by commercial semi-State companies to be reinvested into job creation and retention measures.” — Mary Lou McDonald, Gerry Adams, Michael Colreavy, Seán Crowe, Pearse Doherty, Dessie Ellis, Martin Ferris, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, Sandra McLellan, Jonathan O'Brien, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Brian Stanley, Peadar Tóibín.

[16 September, 2011]