Written Answers - Sale of State Assets

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 732 No. 2

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  19.  Deputy Dara Calleary  Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary   asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources  Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte   the consideration he has given to the McCarthy report into the sale of State assets and when decisions will be made by him on the locus of ownership of electricity transmissions assets currently owned by the ESB in the context of the third EU directive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10838/11]

  29.  Deputy Timmy Dooley  Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley   asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources  Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte   his views on the recommendation on the report of the McCarthy review group on State assets and liabilities to dispose of ESB’s overseas interest and to prevent further expansion outside Ireland. [10941/11]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I propose to take Questions Nos. 19 and 29 together.

I have responsibility for a range of commercial semi-State bodies that play critical roles in the Irish economy, not only by providing essential infrastructure and services but as significant employers. Most of them also contribute substantial dividends to the Exchequer on foot of their successful investment programmes and resultant profitability.

The Report of the Review Group on State Assets and Liabilities, chaired by Mr Colm McCarthy, has recently been presented to Government and published.

The Government is currently considering the recommendations of that Report in line with the Programme for Government commitments, the new national development plan, and the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland. The Government is also consulting the key stakeholders. Future decisions in relation to the recommendations of the Report will be a matter for the Government.

With regard to the locus of ownership of the electricity transmission assets, Directive 2009/72/EC, which allows for various options in relation to the unbundling of the transmission assets, entered into force in 2009.

Extensive analysis of the options in the Irish context has been carried out, most recently in the completion of a report by Frontier Economics, under an Independent Chair. The Independent analysis included an assessment of the costs, benefits and regulatory impact of the legal options for unbundling under the Directive set in the context of overall EU energy policy developments and the All Island single electricity market.

I will be bringing proposals to Government in due course with a recommendation on the next steps with regard to the future ownership of the electricity transmission assets. I am mindful of the urgency for an early definitive decision to comply with the legal deadlines in the EU Directive.


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