Friday 23 March 2018

We're in sell-off twilight zone

The Government has created a great deal of unnecessary confusion on the sale of state assets, a requirement imposed on Ireland under the terms of the EU-IMF-ECB but with the details left remarkably vague and uncertain.

All too typically, we have had no real clarification of such important questions as what public property should be sold, how much money should be raised in this way, or how the proceeds should be spent. The Cabinet is now expected to turn its attention to these issues, perhaps as early as tomorrow. It may shed some much-needed light on the subject -- if ministers can get their own thoughts in order.

When the question first arose, it was understood that the proposed sales were designed for one purpose only, paying off our debts. That seemed curious, since figures as low as €2bn were suggested for the likely proceeds, a tiny proportion of our crushing public debt.

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