The President of the Workers Party, Michael Finnegan has condemned the government’s plan to sell off parts of the ESB and Bord Gais and to put partial sale of Coillte on the table.
Mr. Finnegan dismissed Minister Brendan Howlin’s claim that there would be no “fire sale” of state assets saying that today’s decision would set the first sparks in a tinderbox that would eventually end in a fire sale.
“The state companies”, said Mr. Finnegan, “are the last major asset this country has. Having bargained away economic sovereignty the government is today setting in motion the beginning of the end for the only companies with real capacity to rebuild the Irish economy. These companies have proven their worth and their loyalty to this state over the last century. They have been an essential part in driving economic development and continue to have the potential to do so. Unfortunately the ideological blindness of this government, steered by the EU/IMF/ECB Troika is now intent on destroying that great asset”.
“Minister Howlin says that there will be no fire sale of state assets. That's what we were told when Eircom, ACC, ICC and the Sugar Company were being privatised. History, sadly, has shown otherwise. The process he is setting in train today will have the same effect in the long run. Instead of an immediate fire sale will be war of attrition whereby the state companies will be dismantled bit by bit just as an army of ants attacks and dismantles a much larger victim and carry it away until nothing is left”
"Already this government and the Troika, acting as the collection agents of the international banking system have looted €15 billion from the National Pension Reserve Fund, in effect the future pensions of Irish workers, to pay for the mistakes and greed of the bankers, bondholders and speculators. Now he is proposing to sacrifice viable publicly-owned commercial state companies into the same bottomless pit. It is stupidity on a grand scale"
Mr. Finnegan said that just as the artificial property bubble created zombie banks, the process of dismantling the state companies would end up with zombie enterprises except this time there would be no bailouts or rescues, just an unseemly disposal of the remnants of the once great enterprises that brought Ireland into the modern age.
The Workers’ Party said that in his view the disposal of these state assets was a further act of economic treason against this country and its people and that the claim that the sale would create jobs was a falsehood as the money would simply go straight into the pockets of greedy investors.
Issued 22nd February 2012