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ESB (Electronic Communications Networks) Bill 2013: Instruction to Committee

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ESB (Electronic Communications Networks) Bill 2013: Instruction to Committee

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Snippet Contents:

I object to this proposal. When I saw last week that it was proposed to place this direction to committee on this week's agenda, I thought it was great because I thought it meant the Minister was going to make provision in legislation to instruct the ESB to roll out broadband to the whole country. I was greatly disappointed when I read the briefing note and realised that this involves changing the name of Bord Gáis Éireann to Ervia, as it is to be called. This is quite a significant proposal as it brings into context the idea of privatisation and the sale of State assets.
The suggestion in the Minister's briefing note that Bord Gáis Éireann is a significant and strong brand is true, of course, because it has been built up over the years by the State and the Irish people. Bord Gáis has been supported and its brand has been developed, but now it is being sold off to the highest bidder. Rather than asking the new company to develop its own brand, we are giving them the assets, customer base and sales of Bord Gáis. We are being asked to change the name of something that was developed as a strong brand for Ireland and for the Irish people. I think it is a sad and retrograde step. We should not be considering it.
Unfortunately, this proposal will be accepted today and the change of name will happen. It is probably a sign of things to come. The Minister's contention that what will be left of Bord Gáis Éireann will operate as "Irish Water" and as "Gas Networks Ireland" signals to me that there is really no need for this change. If it is just a question of Bord Gáis Éireann's corporate identity, how will the company be able to compete with Bord Gáis Networks, or whatever the new company will be called? While I think it is a pity that this change is being made, I accept that it is going to happen anyway.