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first_imgSTATE-OWNED COMPANIES should not be exempt from Freedom of Information requests, a senior cabinet minister has said.Speaking today at a conference on corporate governance, the Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte said that the government was taking steps to change the culture surrounding information in Ireland.He said that State-owned companies, including those in water, should fall under the laws.“In relation to freedom of information, I should mention that we all recognise the need for commercial State-owned companies to operate on a level playing field with their competitors.“However, my colleague Brendan Howlin asked me to consider whether the same justification could be applied for the exclusion of the commercial companies, ESB Networks, Ervia and Eirgrid, that operate as monopolies – in other words, without direct commercial competition. I have given some thought to that issue and I don’t find the argument for not extending the freedom of information legislation to the three State-owned monopoly network companies operating in water, gas and electricity very persuasive. I have said as much to Minister Howlin.Rabbitte added that there needed to be systems to hold politicians and civil servants accountable.“In addition, I have more than once previously highlighted a need to reassess how the Government, civil servants and individual ministers can become accountable to the Oireachtas in a meaningful way for the actions they take.”Read: Nama pays developers €11 million every year in wageslast_img

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