Unions: Use ESB and CIÉ to create equity for firms

SEMI-STATE companies should be brought together into a State Holding Company which can be used as a vehicle for strategic investment, according to a proposal from ICTU.

The trade union scheme is being put forward as a socially beneficial alternative to what ICTU president Jack O’Connor said is a clear Government intention to sell off enterprises such as ESB and CIÉ “at bargain basement prices to be asset stripped by the corporate vultures”.

“The trade union movement has put this option forward for the last number of years. In this time it is more important than ever that this scheme is adopted as we have to generate investment through the public sector because of the retreat of private investment,” Mr O’Connor said.

“The state can utilise these publicly owned strategic assets to create equity for enterprises, without compromising the state’s position on the deficit, so funding investment and producing jobs instead of seeing them striped by the same speculators that have brought the wider economy to the brink of disaster.”

In July, Minister for Finance Brain Lenihan announced the establishment of a Review Group on State Assets and Liabilities fronted by economist Colm McCarthy.

Critics of the committee have pointed to its terms of reference, concluding the Government will privatise or at least semi- privatise major commercial state enterprises.

The State Holding Company concept will form the basis of the ICTU submission of the McCarthy review group.


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