Exchequer boosted by €179m in semi-State dividends, mostly from ESB

Profits have been soaring at power company

Commercial semi-State companies have to date this year paid out aggregate dividends of €179.4 million to the exchequer, with the bulk of this drawn from ESB.

The €179.4 million paid out to date, 2022 is already 18 per cent or €27.7 million in excess of the €151.7 million dividends paid out by the semi-State companies to the exchequer for the 12 months of last year.

In a written Dáil reply to Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe confirmed that the bulk of the dividend has come from the ESB in 2022 at €121.6 million. The sum paid over by the ESB to date this year compares to €77.67 million paid by the semi-State company in 2021 and €47.6 million paid in 2020.

On the back of the ESB’s soaring operating profits of €357 million before exceptional items reported for the first six months of this year, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said the State “can look forward to a much higher dividend” from the ESB in 2022.


In his written reply, Mr Donohoe said the other main contributors of dividends this year are the operator of Bord Gáis and Irish Water, Ervia and Bord na Móna.

Budget 2023: What to expect

Listen | 51:50

Mr Donohoe confirmed that Ervia’s 2022 dividend to the exchequer is €30.1 million. This is down on dividends of previous years — in 2021 Ervia paid out a dividend of €38.43 million, in 2020 it paid €70.95 million, €139.4m in 2019 and €139 million in 2018.

Bord na Móna’s 2022 dividend of €21.6 million is a multiple of dividends paid out in previous years. The semi-State recorded more than a tripling of pretax profits from €27.75m to €85.1 million in the 12 months to the end of March this year. Bord na Móna paid €6.39 million in 2021 and no dividends in 2020, 2019 or 2018.

Coillte’s dividend payment to date this year totals €5 million and this compares to €25 million for 2021, €2.3 million for 2020 and €13 million for 2019.

Mr Donohoe said no dividend has to date been received from the Dublin Port Company this year. The last dividend paid out by the port company was €4.1 million in 2019.

Other semi-State port companies that have this year paid out dividends include Shannon Foynes Port (€400,000), the Port of Waterford (€266,135) and the Port of Cork (€250,000). EirGrid this year has yet to pay out a dividend after paying €4 million for each of the years spanning 2017 and 2021.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times