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Thread: Should we be focusing more on the semi-states?

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    Politics.ie Member
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    Default Should we be focusing more on the semi-states?

    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?

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    rte and the cie group should be put into liquidation, that would be a good start.

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    Politics.ie Member Ren84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by devoutcapitalist View Post
    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.

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    Politics.ie Member neiphin's Avatar
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    is it that time of the month again ?
    "If we VOTE YES there will be no more austere budgets. Fact " Hammer, mayday 12'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ren84 View Post
    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.

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    Politics.ie Member Dame_Enda's Avatar
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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.
    Fair and Balanced

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    Politics.ie Member firefly123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dame_Enda View Post
    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.
    Life is hard
    That's why no-one survives

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    Politics.ie Member neiphin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dame_Enda View Post
    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
    "If we VOTE YES there will be no more austere budgets. Fact " Hammer, mayday 12'

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    Politics.ie Member Dame_Enda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neiphin View Post
    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 by Dame_Enda; 23rd April 2013 at 08:04 PM.
    Fair and Balanced

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    Politics.ie Member neiphin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dame_Enda View Post
    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 ?
    "If we VOTE YES there will be no more austere budgets. Fact " Hammer, mayday 12'

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