Dáil Éireann - Volume 507 - 24 June, 1999

Written Answers. - Telecom Éireann Sale.

30. Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Finance if he has made a decision on the use of the proceeds of the sale of Telecom Éireann; if not, the options he is considering; when he will make a decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16133/99]

Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): The proceeds from the sale of Telecom Éireann will be paid into the Exchequer.

I am considering the subsequent use of the proceeds in the context of the Government's budgetary objectives as set out in the Stability Programme 1999 to 2001 which was published on budget day. These objectives are to reduce further the debt burden and to prepare the public finances for longer-term demographic and other challenges.

Reducing the debt burden will lead to lower debt servicing costs in future years and will release resources for more productive purposes including much needed infrastructural development, continued tax reform and improvements in public services.

Looking further ahead, we should begin to prepare the public finances now for the less favourable budgetary position which will face us in the future arising from the ageing of the population.

The Government will also consider shortly the national development plan for the period 2000-06.