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Deadline looms on ESB's future

THE Government has a fortnight to make a decision on the proposed split of State-owned energy company ESB.

EU energy market regulations oblige the State to transfer the national grid to Eirgrid, which manages the firm but does not own it.

It's understood that the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has already prepared the legislation required to break up the ESB.

But a report, discussed before Christmas, outlined that Ireland could have a strong case to remove itself from the directive.

The report, the result of a review carried out by former Irish National Petroleum Corporation chief executive Fergus Cahill (above), looked at the options for splitting the company and it argued that a transfer could result in a cost to the exchequer.

A separate report from economist Colm McCarthy is expected to recommend the sale of at least some State companies and assets.