The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte has today admitted that there will be no fire sale of State assets and that the sale of the ESB will not happen in the near future.

 

Minister Rabbitte indicated his reluctance to sell strategic assets like the ESB transmission lines when pressed on the issue during Priority Questions in the Dáil today by Fianna Fáil Deputy Leader Éamon Ó Cuív.

 

Welcoming this, Deputy Ó Cuív said: “Before any assets are sold, it is important that the long-term strategic interests of this country are fully considered. While I recognise that we must adhere to the bottom line of the EU/IMF deal, this must be on a fiscal level and cannot be at the ideological expense of forcing us to sell strategic assets which have been built up by the Irish people.

 

“Fianna Fáil is not against the principle of selling State assets. However we remain utterly opposed – just like we were in Government – to selling our electricity and gas networks and transmission systems. We will continue to fight this at every turn. Deputy Rabbitte today admitted that the Troika has set no target on the sale of State assets, including what assets should be sold or what the overall value must be.  The figure of €2 billion was set solely by this Government, which thus far seems to have a particular ideological agenda on selling off our strategic assets.

 

“The much softer view of Minister Rabbitte today is to be welcomed. It is clear that he is listening to what we in Fianna Fáil and many other people are saying. We will fully support him in standing against any forced sale of these assets and we will work with him over the long-term to ensure that these vital assets are not sold. The Labour Party reluctance on this issue is to be welcomed and we hope that they will persuade their Fine Gael colleagues to join in the fight to protect our most important assets. There is no doubt that this is a fight that will have nearly universal support across the Dáil.”