The Government should use the recent massive cash windfall of €1.123 billion from the sale of ordinary shares in Bank of Ireland to fund job creation instead of selling off part of the ESB, according to Fianna Fáil Public Expenditure Spokesperson Seán Fleming TD.
 
Deputy Fleming said: “The Government does not need to sell shares in the ESB.  They recently made over €1.1 billion from selling shares in Bank of Ireland. By using the money from the sale of these State assets to invest in jobs, they could avoid selling a strategic State shareholding in the ESB.
 
“The Government has said that they are seeking agreement from the Troika to use some of the proceeds from the sale of State assets to fund the jobs and growth programme. However, the Government is currently using the proceeds from the Bank of Ireland shares to reduce the exchequer deficit. They are continually saying one thing but doing another.  This is an ongoing feature of this Government.  
 
“The Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has recently confirmed that aim to achieve €2 billion from the sale of State assets is part of the Programme for Government, and was not in the original Memorandum of Understanding with the EU/IMF in December 2010.
 
“Minister Noonan raided the National Pension Reserve Fund and on the 28 July 2011, he ordered them to hand over the proceeds of the BOI shares so that he could use this money to cut his deficit. These funds should have been used by the NPRF for productive purposes and job creation.
 
“To date €233 million has been received from the BOI shares and the balance of €890 will be received this month.  With this money coming in from the sale of State assets, the Government cannot try to justify selling any shares in the ESB.”