|Michael Finnegan, WP President
The President of the Workers’ Party, Michael Finnegan, has said that the report of the Review Group on State Assets and Liabilities, led by economist Dr. Colm McCarthy, proposes to hand all the state’s commercial assets to the very individuals who have landed the Irish people in the present mess.
Mr. Finnegan, remarking that the Workers’ Party was the only political party in the state to make a formal submission to the review group, said that it was incredible that the prime advocates of privatisation such as Minister Leo Varadkar had not seen fit to put their views on paper. “I can only assume that the failed to do so because they knew that the fire sale of assets would be the only issue on the cards for McCarthy and his group”
"The most pressing need for the Irish people, the Irish economy, and the Irish economic recovery is the creation of jobs. Wholesale privatisation, as advocated by McCarthy and preached by the IMF, is a recipe for job losses and massive asset stripping”, said Mr. Finnegan.
"The Irish people have invested heavily in our commercial state companies over many years. They exist in vital areas of infrastructure of power and transport primarily. These are important areas for all countries. For a tiny island nation they are matters of life and death. Our history of privatisation - from Eircom, Aer Lingus, ACC and ICC to name a few has shown how financially stupid and strategically counterproductive privatisation really is”.
"It is bad enough to have handed our financial future to a consortium of international bankers and power brokers. Mr McCarthy and his ilk now want to hand over our commercial future to the same vultures. Of course the shock would have been if McCarthy had let economics overrule his biased ideology to arrive at any other conclusion. Naturally the outcome of this report was decided long before the review group had their first meeting”.
"Privatisation is not the answer to the problems in the Irish economy. Our commercial state companies employ 40,000 in profitable companies. They all pay dividends to the state. In the last decade the ESB alone has paid almost €1 billion in dividends to the state. There are vast areas of expansion in the green energy market, in timber cultivation, in tourism, and hopefully in import / export. We should give our commercial state companies the liberty to expand, based on their own commercial strength,”
Mr. Finnegan said that of particular concern in the report was the plan to all but annihilate the ESB along with wholesale sell-off of public transport, energy and communications infrastructure. “The audacity of the review group’s proposals would even make the likes of Margaret Thatcher gasp”, said the Workers’ Party President.
Issued 20th April 2011