ESB - Another Step towards Privatisation
ESB Street Light Sell-Off - Another Step towards Privatisation
The Workers' Party has condemned the handing over of the ESB's street lighting contract with local authorities to a private electricity operator, Airtricity, saying it is a further step in the dismemberment and privatisation of the ESB.
Workers' Party Cllr. Davy Walsh (Waterford) said that the decision, which will transfer 100 semi-state ESB employees into Airtricity, and hand over the maintenance of around 300,000 street lights on behalf of almost 90 local authorities, must also raise concerns for the general public and communities that the quality of service in relation to street light repairs will suffer.
"As a public representative I regularly come across people complaining about faulty street lamps. I know that the ESB will deal with these issues as soon as possible.  I cannot have the same level of confidence in a company whose sole objective is profit.  The ESB, as a semi-state commercial company, has a social responsibilty clause which does not apply to a private company such as Airtricity", said Cllr. Walsh.
The Workers Party councillor said that utilities such as the electricity, water, sewerage and refuse treatment were as important as the health service and should remain in public ownership.  He said that the move to further break up the ESB was part of a wider privatisation agenda of the Fianna Fail / Green Party government and the European Union.

"The handing over of essential and important services such as electricity is contrary to the public interests.  It puts these vital utilities into the hands of speculators and ultimately turns what is an essential service into another commodity for profit", said Cllr. Walsh.
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