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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 31 Mar 1993

Vol. 428 No. 6

Written Answers. - ESB Accountability to Ombudsman.

Jim O'Keeffe


94 Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Finance the reason the ESB is not answerable to the Ombudsman; his views on whether the ESB being a monopoly supplier of an essential service should be so answerable; and if he will extend the remit of the Ombudsman accordingly.

The remit of the Ombudsman extends to the Civil Service, the local authorities, the health boards, An Post and Telecom Eireann. The inclusion of the latter within the Ombudsman's remit in December 1984 is largely explicable by the services which they provided having previously come within the Ombudsman's purview when carried out by the Department of Post and Telegraphs and an exceptional public demand for the Ombudsman's services in this regard.

I would not, however, as a general rule envisage the Ombudsman's remit extending to State-sponsored bodies which have an essentially commercial mandate; and I would require evidence of substantial consumer discontent with the customer redress mechanisms provided by any such body before adopting a different approach. In the case of the ESB, notwithstanding its monopoly position, I am not aware of any such discontent.