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ESB (Electronic Communications Networks) Bill 2013: Report Stage (Continued)

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 830 No. 3

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte] They have rallied in almost impossible conditions. My understanding from the chief executive of the ESB is that it was so bad yesterday, particularly in parts of the south and south west, that it was unsafe for ESB workers to go out at the height of the storm. Since then, they have been doing everything humanly possible to restore power to unfortunate people who have been worst affected.

Given that we are dealing with a Bill about communications, the same situation applies in respect of Eircom workers. Some 60,000 homes have been deprived of a service and Eircom workers are engaged in trying to restore service as early as possible. It is appropriate at a time like this to pay tribute to these workers in their struggle against the elements to restore service to people who have been worst affected. I join with Deputy Coffey in including local authority workers and emergency workers generally who have been called out for us in unprecedented and uniquely bad circumstances. We are grateful for their dedication in that regard.

I reiterate what Deputy Coffey said. All I can say is that the thrust of this Bill is not about privatisation. It is enshrined in the Irish Water legislation that it will not be privatised. Other than incorporating it in law, I do not see what one can do. Deputy Colreavy is right. There may be a government of a different complexion at some stage in the future but all this Government can do is enshrine it in law, which it has done. In respect of critical infrastructure, be it the gas or energy networks, it is not the intention to privatise them and the new water utility is under State ownership.

Deputy Coffey is correct. It is a commercial venture.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Seán Kenny): Information on Seán Kenny Zoom on Seán Kenny The Minister is out of time. Is Deputy Colreavy pressing the amendment?

Question put: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand."The Dáil divided: Tá, 65; Níl, 35.TáNílBannon, James.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 65; Níl, 35.

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Tellers: Tá, Deputies Emmet Stagg and Paul Kehoe; Níl, Deputies Michael Colreavy and Michael Moynihan.

Question declared carried.

  Amendment declared lost.

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