Fianna Fáil Energy Spokesperson Michael Moynihan TD,  has said that it is time for the Government to think twice on the sale of Bord Gáis Energy, the customer and energy generation arm of Bord Gáis.  His comments follow reports that the final bidders in the process have submitted bids well below the price predicted by Government consultants.

Deputy Moynihan commented: “Following weekend reports that the sale of Bord Gáis Energy could generate up to €500 million less than the Government expected and the business is worth, the time has come for Pat Rabbitte and his colleagues to think again on this sale.  The Government should be learning from the recent debacle in Britain where the Royal Mail was undervalued by 40% in a rushed state sale process driven by Government ideology.

“With the effort and sacrifice that the country has made over the last five years to close the budget deficit, there is absolutely no justification for dumping a well-run and valuable state asset at fire sale prices.

“Political claims that the Government achieved a victory when the troika conceded that 50% of the proceeds of any sale could be invested in job creation were always disingenuous.  However, if the Labour Party and Fine Gael go ahead with the sale at a bargain basement price, retaining a fraction of what the asset is worth, it will constitute a major strategic and financial error.

“The Government is already involved in a major sale of state assets, with the sale of Irish Life, the Bank of Ireland preference shares and the national lottery.  In Fianna Fáil we are not convinced that there is merit in proceeding with this additional sale at this time and we fear that what we are watching is simply another example of the Fine Gael agenda defeating a weak Labour Party minister.

“The Government has the numbers to force through any decision it wants.  It may have already made the decision to get rid of Bord Gáis Energy, but we’re appealing to them not to proceed with this unless and until we achieve a decent price in line with the predictions of the external consultants retained for the purpose.”