Government to review semi-States


The Government is planning to establish a review group to examine the operation and value of semi-State companies.

The review will look at the assets and liabilities held by the companies including the ESB, Bord Gáis and Dublin Airport Authority and will report before the end of the year.

Among the liabilities to be examined are borrowings and pensions costs.

A spokesman for the Government today described as "speculation" newspaper reports that the review was a first step ahead of a possible sell-off of some semi-State firms to help the Exchequer raise funds.

He described the review as a stocktaking exercise that was part of  “prudential financial management with no predetermined outcome”.

Newspaper reports today suggested the group may be chaired by prominent economist Colm McCarthy, although the spokesman did not comment on this.

Mr McCarthy chaired the review group on public spending which published its report in July last year. 

This report called for a series of changes that would yield more than €5 billion in savings. So far, few of the group’s recommendations have been implemented.