Fine Gael Manifesto – Extract from Fine Gael Website
10.1 NewERA – Development of Ireland’s Energy Networks
Smart Grid: We will merge Eirgrid and ESB Networks to form an independent single state-owned company to own and manage the distribution and transmission network, to be called ‘Smart Grid’. Consideration will be given to merging the gas network into Smart Grid as well. SmartGrid will be tasked with accelerating the planned investments in our electricity networks needed to exploit greater levels of renewable power sources on a technology neutral basis. It will also be charged with giving Irish consumers greater control over their energy consumption, by allowing homes and farms with micro generators to sell excess energy back into the grid and with facilitating the roll out of electric cars.
We will use the National Pension Reserve Fund, investments from public and private pension funds and the proceeds of the sale of state assets to finance the investment through NewERA. We will sell non-strategic assets such as Bord Gais Energy, ESB Powergen, and ESB Customer Supply. All strategic networks, distribution and hydro assets will be kept in majority state ownership, such as the gas pipelines and the electricity grid, and all sales will only take place when market conditions are amenable.
Extract from Labour Party Manifesto
Labour is committed to the
concept of public enterprise,
and is determined to ensure
that semi-state companies
play a full role in the recovery
of the Irish economy
Support for SMEs
There are approximately 230,000 SMEs operating in Ireland, representing the backbone of the Irish economy. SMEs are
confronted by a series of obstacles, most notably working capital, but also access to venture capital,
complicated bureaucracy, and insufficient resourcing of the patent process. Labour’s banking
policy is focused on ensuring an adequate supply of capital for SMEs, including a working capital guarantee scheme, and greater
access to venture capital through Labour’s Strategic Investment Bank. The Innovation Strategy Agency
will work to up-grade the patent process, while the streamlining of bureaucracy will be addressed on a cross-departmental basis.
Co-operatives, friendly societies and mutual companies are a legitimate and valued part of the Labour
tradition. In Ireland the co-operative movement has played a hugely important role in key areas
of economic, environmental and social development. However, in comparison to other countries, the role of the co-operative
and mutual company in Ireland is limited. In many other countries new co-operative models of enterprise
have emerged and are meeting vital social, business and environmental needs and creating worthwhile jobs
in important areas such as healthcare, transport, childcare, housing, energy and energy efficiency and environmental protection.
Labour in government will work to promote a greater appreciation of the co-operative model as a distinct
form of organisation, ensure a level playing field between co-operatives and the other legal options for
structuring enterprise activities, and provide a conducive framework for the full potential of the co-operative
model to be realised, including in areas such as childcare, education, housing, energy retrofitting,
environmental protection, transport and healthcare.
Semi-St ate Companies
Labour is committed to concept of public enterprise, and is determined to ensure that semi-state companies
play a full role in the recovery of the Irish economy. Labour is opposed to short-termist privatisation of key
state assets, such as Coillte or the energy networks.