Irish Steel Bill passes second stage
The second stage of the Irish Steel Bill, which provides for the privatisation of the company, was passed. The Minister for Enterprise and Employment, Mr Bruton, said a number of matters remained to be finalised by the State negotiators and representatives of ISPAT International before the sale could be concluded. On completion of these matters a momentous milestone would have been reached as the ownership of the company passed from State to private ownership.
Employment levels in the company had dropped from more than 1,000 two decades ago to around 400 now. Successive governments had invested substantial amounts of taxpayers' money in the company with no return. The company had made profits in only three of the last 20 years and these were never large enough to tide it over the years of poor performance. "The experience over the years has demonstrated that the State was far from the ideal partner for Irish Steel", the Minister said.