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Should we be focusing more on the semi-states?


cobalt

Active member
Joined
Feb 19, 2009
Messages
191
With all the public/private disharmony, the semi-states have flown largely under the radar. Given that we're now searching down the back of the sofa for every last cent, is this an area where there should be more focus? I'm particularly thinking of the ESB/services, and cutting their prices for consumers, financed if necessary by salary cuts to employees (though simply trimming profits might do the trick).

Arguments in favour:
1. Would cut living expenses for individuals and make doing business in Ireland more competitive.
2. As a consequence of (1), there's less in the way of mortgage default, a little more money to spend in the economy, and a greater incentive (or at least less deterrent) for businesses to establish here, with potential for greater tax take in VAT & corporate tax.
3. In a climate where most in the country are on their knees, should the point of a semi-state be to make profit, or just to cover its costs?
4. Employees have been largely untouched to date: They seem to have high levels of job security and haven't been hit by either public sector wage cuts/levies or private sector downward pressure on salaries. So they're probably one of the few subgroups that have a little more available to give.


Revealed: A startling array of perks on offer for ESB staff - Independent.ie
Average pay in semi-state companies was
ESB International: Careers: Why ESBI: ESBI Benefits

Against:
5. It seems the semi-states are being fattened up ready for sale. Cutting their profits presumably reduces their sale value.
6. Reduced profits = less going to government coffers. (But see 2 above - stimulus effect counteracts this.)
7. Reduced salaries = reduced income tax to govt. And if employees' salaries were cut, no doubt there would be a protest, and possibly industrial action. (Although many of the semi-states don't enjoy the monopoly they used to have so this isn't quite the threat it would have been in the 1980s.)

As someone who's just about coping by adapting lifestyle to counteract repeated cuts (no car, no TV, no holidays, shopping strictly in discount outlets) I've reached the point where a reduction in my household electricity rate - for example - would make a big difference. Whereas instead I'm about to be hit by a new broadcast levy for a broadcaster I don't watch, and a new water charge. I have to wonder whether RTE shouldn't just be told to survive on their advertising income and cut their cloth accordingly. I doubt Pat, Marian et al. would all leave, and if they did, sure what harm?

It seems to me that reducing the burden the semi-states place on both individuals and businesses could be the stimulus we need - or at least stop a few more folk from going under.

Thoughts?
 


Ren84

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Jan 14, 2011
Messages
49,992
rte and the cie group should be put into liquidation, that would be a good start.
Why would you liquidate them? Surely selling them intact would be better. Certainly keeping RTÉ as a state broadcaster these days is pointless given how utterly useless they are.
 

neiphin

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is it that time of the month again ?
 

devoutcapitalist

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Why would you liquidate them? Surely selling them intact would be better. Certainly keeping RTÉ as a state broadcaster these days is pointless given how utterly useless they are.
rte is severely in debt plus that parasite company costs each tv license holder €160 per year. The cie group also gets a bailout of over €250 million per year and they are still loss making.
 

Dame_Enda

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We need the breakup of the ESB. The grid should be separated from them and maintained in state ownership so they can't use it to stymie competion. The ESB power generation should be privatised and some power stations sold to competitors. Bord Gais should be privatised too. Competition will reduce waste in these companies, resulting in lower prices. We are in the top 4 for highest electricity prices in the EU. The average ESB salary is €75,000.

In case of resistance from the unions, they should be bought off with a large shareholding.
 

firefly123

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Dec 8, 2009
Messages
28,163
We need the breakup of the ESB. The grid should be separated from them and maintained in state ownership so they can't use it to stymie competion. The ESB power generation should be privatised and some power stations sold to competitors. Bord Gais should be privatised too. Competition will reduce waste in these companies, resulting in lower prices. We are in the top 4 for highest electricity prices in the EU. The average ESB salary is €75,000.

In case of resistance from the unions, they should be bought off with a large shareholding.
We are in the top 4 in electricity prices because in order to encourage private entry into the market (to bring down prices) prices were raised. It's genius really.
When it was a state monopoly it was amongst the cheapest in Europe. I'm sure one of the energy bunnies on here will know more.
Privatisation does not automatically equate cheaper for the public. I've no moral objection to it by the way. I just don't see it as a black and white situation.
 

neiphin

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We need the breakup of the ESB. The grid should be separated from them and maintained in state ownership so they can't use it to stymie competion. The ESB power generation should be privatised and some power stations sold to competitors. Bord Gais should be privatised too. Competition will reduce waste in these companies, resulting in lower prices. We are in the top 4 for highest electricity prices in the EU. The average ESB salary is €75,000.

In case of resistance from the unions, they should be bought off with a large shareholding.
bit behind the curve there

1)electric ireland
2)esb networks
3)esb power gen
4)eirgrid
 

Dame_Enda

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bit behind the curve there

1)electric ireland
2)esb networks
3)esb power gen
4)eirgrid
They are just subdivisions of the one company. I'm talking about a true breakup. I am not convinced you can have competition between state-owned companies. And with political cronies on the board I am not convinced they are governed efficiently as they could be. Freeing them from party politics is imperative. Politicians haven't a clue about how to run a business other than pubs or law firms. 41 FF TDs during Cowen's term were publicans. Not enough life experience in that place and that's one reason we are high and dry today. Let true professionals run these services not parish pump politicians.
 
Last edited:

neiphin

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They are just subdivisions of the one company. I'm talking about a true breakup. I am not convinced you can have competition between state-owned companies.
you mean you want to see it in pieces on the floor
because that fulfills some idiological theory of yours ?
 

Dame_Enda

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you mean you want to see it in pieces on the floor
because that fulfills some idiological theory of yours ?
I want the rip off culture in the ESB to stop right now! Competition is the only way of accomplishing that.
 

neiphin

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I want the rip off culture in the ESB to stop right now! Competition is the only way of accomplishing that.
you have been told already

competition is what pushed up the price
 

Dame_Enda

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you have been told already

competition is what pushed up the price
No it isn't. There is no true competition. The price rises were govt policy. The Greens wanted us to cut back on carbon emissions.

Remember Mary White's comments about how the economy collapsing being great for the environment. (or something)
 

Andycap

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Feb 22, 2012
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you mean you want to see it in pieces on the floor
because that fulfills some idiological theory of yours ?
Tear it apart like a bear tears apart a beehive to get the delicious honey hidden deep inside

nom nom nom forbidden honey
 

florin

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May 17, 2008
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1,366
We are in the top 4 in electricity prices because in order to encourage private entry into the market (to bring down prices) prices were raised. It's genius really.
When it was a state monopoly it was amongst the cheapest in Europe. I'm sure one of the energy bunnies on here will know more.
Privatisation does not automatically equate cheaper for the public. I've no moral objection to it by the way. I just don't see it as a black and white situation.
True; but as an island with no oil, no coal, little gas and a thinly-spread population it's not surprising that power is expensive.
 

Prester Jim

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Jul 3, 2009
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10,056
We need the breakup of the ESB. The grid should be separated from them and maintained in state ownership so they can't use it to stymie competion. The ESB power generation should be privatised and some power stations sold to competitors. Bord Gais should be privatised too. Competition will reduce waste in these companies, resulting in lower prices. We are in the top 4 for highest electricity prices in the EU. The average ESB salary is €75,000.

In case of resistance from the unions, they should be bought off with a large shareholding.
RTE is ripe to be privatised (they could asset strip Pat Kenny for firewood) but otherwise you would be crazy to privatise essential utilities; it has not worked out well over the water in electricity, prisons, water, trains etc.
 

Mad as Fish

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Dec 6, 2012
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24,449
Why would you liquidate them? Surely selling them intact would be better. Certainly keeping RTÉ as a state broadcaster these days is pointless given how utterly useless they are.
Not to the government though, which is why the BBC was one holy cow that Thatcher didn't sacrifice on the altar of privatisation.
 

constitutionus

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23,340
you'll have to deal with their union....


....IBEC.
 

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