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Sold out

The recent letter by Brian Abbott (Letters, January 14) is one of the most insightful and intelligent pieces of commentary that I have read anywhere in quite some time.

The prospect of private sector profit-seekers deciding who does and does not get electricity or which community does or does not get a bus service is unnerving to say the least, especially since these decisions would be made based on an ability to make profit, with no regard given to the social consequences of such decisions.

The idea that the sale of state assets to the tune of €2bn or even €5bn would make any significant difference to our national debt or interest rate is laughable.

Therefore, I find it more likely that the insistence of the troika that we sell off any state interest in supposedly 'non-strategic' sectors such as energy production and public transport is an effort to enforce a certain type of socio-economic system upon us -- one that prioritises that ability of companies to make profits off the day-to-day life of citizens.

Nobody is going to buy any of our national assets unless they can make a profit from them.

And I suspect the first port of call on the quest for bigger profit margins would be job losses, which would negatively impact both tax revenues and the social protection budget.

I would like to think that our Government would stand up for its citizens and inform the troika that our state assets will not be sold in order to hand over money to failed investors, but the Government's health strategy leaves me extremely dubious about its willingness to protect Irish society.

The government parties -- Fine Gael, in particular -- proudly hold up a health strategy that puts private health insurers at the heart of our national health service, allows them to profit from it, and forces citizens to participate and pay into it.

The first step we need to take is to tell our 'friends' in the troika that our state assets belong to the people and will not be sold off for others to profit from.

Simon O'Connor
Address with editor

Irish Independent