State-sponsored bodies of the Republic of Ireland

A State-Sponsored Body is the name given in Ireland to a state-owned enterprise (a government-owned corporation), that is to say, a commercial business which is beneficially owned, either completely or majority, by the Irish Government. Each state-sponsored body has a sponsor Minister who acts as shareholder, either independently, or in conjunction with the Minister for Finance, who may also be a shareholder. State-sponsored bodies are often popularly called semi-state companies, a misnomner, since they are all (mostly) fully owned by the state, in addition not all of them are actually companies. Less often they are referred to by the British term nationalised industry.

Statutory corporations

State-sponsored bodies may be organised as statutory corporations, meaning that they are officially non-profit and do not formally have shareholders, but are a board or other authority appointed by the sponsor Minister. Corporations of this type include:

Statutory corporations are governed under the particular statute that they are established under, and are not subject to the provisions of the Companies Acts, though similar requirements are often stated in the statute. The statutory corporation form of governance has fallen out of favour recently, with it being seen as less transparent and less commercially free than the limited company (see below). It is planned that VHI will become a limited company in the near future. On 21 January 2006 The Irish Times reported that the ESB and BGE will also move to plc status, however both companies remained in govnerment hands and never went to plc status. Under the draft Broadcasting Bill 2006 RTÉ and Telefís na Gaeilge would have become companies limited by guarantee, however the final Broadcasting Act 2009 retained their statutory corporation status.

Companies with the Government as shareholder

Others may be organised as public limited companies or private limited companies. These are incorporated with the Companies Registration Office (Ireland) as companies, but their sole (or sometimes majority) shareholder is their sponsor minister. Some of these are exempt from the requirement to carry limited, teoranta, plc, or cpt as part of their company name. State-sponsored bodies incorporated in this fashion are, unlike their statutory corporation peers, subject to the provisions of the Companies' Acts. They have issued share capital, a board of directors, and all the other features of the type of company they are incorporated as. Examples include:

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Prominent subsidiaries of State-Sponsored Bodies

Companies which are subsidiaries of state-sponsored bodies, but which enjoy a separate identity and legal existence, include:

Subsidiaries of Córas Iompair Éireann:

Subsidiaries of Dublin Airport Authority:

Subsidiaries of An Post

Subsidiaries of Raidió Teilifís Éireann:

Subsidiary of Horse Racing Ireland


Like many countries with extensive state owned sectors, the Irish Government has embarked on a programme of privatisations in recent years. Privatisations have always been controversial in Ireland. In 1991 the chief executive of Greencore was forced to resign immediately prior to the company's flotation when it was discovered he was a shareholder in a company which had been purchased by Irish Sugar prior to its flotation. However it was after the drop in the Eircom share price following the company's flotation that many became opposed to future privatisations. Nevertheless, as of 2006 the latest privatisation has been that of Aer Lingus Group plc, on 2 October 2006. The Great Southern Hotels were also privatised in 2006.

List of privatised State-Sponsored Bodies

See also

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