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Eircom's sad and shocking day

Yesterday's appointment of an interim examiner to Eircom marks a sad day for the company, which was privatised amid such fanfare almost 13 years ago.

While, with over €4bn of debt, the appointment of an examiner was inevitable, it still comes as something of a shock to see what is still a major Irish company reduced to such circumstances.

The good news is that Eircom's debts are the result of five changes of ownership in the space of just a decade rather than its trading performance.

Despite the downturn in the economy and the fact that most of us now use mobiles rather than fixed lines to make telephone calls, Eircom is still trading profitably.

This means that, now that the High Court has granted it protection from its creditors, it will be able to restructure its debts and stay in business.

The bad news is that another 1,000 Eircom employees will lose their jobs. These job losses will come on top of the more than 6,000 job cuts at Eircom since it was privatised.

Now that the issue of Eircom's excessive debt has finally been tackled, the company's new owners must press ahead with the €1.3bn investment in next-generation fibre optic broadband that the country so desperately needs without delay.