Laois/Offaly Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen has expressed serious concern about reports that Bord na Móna and Coillte could soon be sold off, under the new Government’s short-sighted privatisation plans.

Deputy Cowen commented, “There is no doubt that the privatisation of Bord na Móna and Coillte will result in hundreds of job losses around the country. They currently employ a combined 3,500 people nationwide and both bodies are considered major employers here in Laois-Offaly. They play a pivotal role in the local economy here and selling these valuable assets will have a devastating impact.”

“However this is not just an economic issue – our natural heritage is at stake. Selling the country’s forests and bogs means handing over control of our natural assets to private profit-driven firms. Fianna Fáil will strongly oppose any such move. We believe there are other issues to consider beyond financial gratification before Fine Gael and Labour sell off our natural assets.

“It’s time for the new Government to come clean with the public about their privatisation plans. As long as they continue to dodge the issue, rumours will continue to circulate about what national assets are being sold off and whose jobs are at risk,” concluded Deputy Cowen.