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Semi-states paid €1.3bn in dividends over 11 years

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Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform

Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform

Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform

New figures show that semi-state-owned commercial firms have paid the State over €1.325bn in dividends over the past 11 years.

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin has confirmed that between 2003 and 2013, state-owned firms paid the Government a total of €1.325bn in dividends.

The figures show that the dividend payouts by the semi-states have increased dramatically since the Irish economy went into recession.

Prior to 2008, total annual dividends received by government did not go over €83.9m in any year and totalled only €36.7m in 2003.

The statistics show that the dividend payout then doubled in the space of one year, going from €83.9m in 2007 to €170.9m in 2008.

In a written Dail response to Fianna Fail's Michael McGrath, Mr Howlin confirmed that the amount in dividends paid out last year more than doubled to €264m.

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The dividend payout in 2013 followed a dividend payout of €111.6m in 2012 and €137.5m in 2011.

The figures show that the dividends from the semi-state energy firms have accounted for the largest proportion of the dividend payouts.

Mr Howlin confirmed that the ESB has paid dividends totalling €860m over the period, including €139.4m last year, with Bord Gais paying out €250m, including €49.8m last year.

The dividend payouts by the energy firms account for 84pc of the overall total.

The figures show that the Dublin Port Company has paid €61.8m in dividends over the period – including a dividend payout of €15m in 2013.

The figures for 2013 show that the third highest amount was paid by Irish Life, which paid out €40m.

Over the 11 years analysed, the figures show that Bord na Mona paid out €43.9m in dividends.

Aer Lingus has a sizeable cash pile but made only its second dividend payment in the period when it paid €5.3m to Government last year, following a payout to Government of €4m in 2012.

The airline is 25pc state owned.

The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) did not pay a dividend last year and the last dividend the DAA made was €19.4m in 2009 – prior to that its dividend payouts totalled €6m in 2004 and €7.2m in 2003.

The figures show that the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) paid out a dividend of €5m last year – the IAA had previously not paid a dividend since 2004 when it paid over €1.27m and this followed a dividend of €1m in 2003.

No dividend was received last year from Coillte after the agency had paid over €12m in 2011 and 2012.

The Cork Port Authority paid dividends of €1.4m in total over 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Irish Independent