THERE WERE sharp exchanges when Taoiseach Brian Cowen said the cost of rebranding the ESB and Bord Gáis was not a matter for the Government.
Mr Cowen was responding to Labour leader Eamon Gilmore, who said the “Government will spend €40 million on the ESB and Bord Gáis for putting up new nameplates, letterheads and for new advertising at a time when the country is short of money”.
The money, said Mr Gilmore, would be better spent providing some assistance to families who could not meet their fuel bills.
Mr Cowen replied that “whatever arrangements have been made by the ESB and by Bord Gáis the Commission for Energy Regulation can be taken up with them”.
Mr Gilmore said: “That is daft.”
Party colleague Joan Burton added: “That is stupid. The Taoiseach is abdicating his responsibility again.”
Mr Cowen said the House had established the commission to regulate the market. “It was voted for by every member in the House as the best means of providing for competition in the market.”