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REAL ESTATE, Galway – An estimated 4,000 jobs were lost in the Irish Government’s decision to sell off the health care industry to the private sector in the wake of the global financial crisis.
The Government announced the plan on Monday to sell the health sector to a consortium of companies with a combined market capitalisation of €20 billion.
The decision was welcomed by the Irish Business Association, which welcomed the Government’s plans to make public-private partnerships more effective.
The Irish Government is not recommending the sale, but is saying that it is time for a rethinking of the way the country does business.
The private sector has said that it would be the best solution for Ireland, which has the largest number of privately-owned hospitals and doctors in Europe.
In a statement on Monday, the Government said that the sale of the private healthcare sector to the consortium will bring €30 million in direct savings and €7.4 million in indirect costs.
This is a huge step in the right direction, Minister for Health James Reilly said.
The Minister said the Government had made a decision to make it easier for companies to take public ownership of Ireland’s public sector.
However, there is a problem with that plan, said Prof. Stephen O’Donnell, Director of the Centre for Business and Enterprise Policy at the University of Limerick.
We have to recognise that private ownership of public assets is often not the best approach for private sector companies.
He said that when the Government announced plans to privatize the health service, it was not the case that they would have had a good deal of competition.
«It’s very easy to say that the private providers can come in and bid on the same contract.
The problem is that there’s always a price to pay for that.
Private companies have to make a profit, Prof. O’Brien said.
We need to put in place policies that make it more attractive to invest in public-sector firms, which will create more jobs, said Michael McGowan, President of the Health Service Employees Union.
The Health Service Executive said it was committed to working with the Irish government and industry on a range of reforms.
It has announced that it will set up a commission to explore a range and specific ways of reforming the health system.
The commission will be led by a group of business leaders, including senior management at the European Commission and the International Labour Organisation.
The Commission said it will examine how to strengthen competition, strengthen public-service partnerships and reduce waste, corruption and mismanagement.
It will also consider how to support innovation and strengthen competition.