Home » Why Ryan’s Suggested Cut to the ESB Dividend Could Be a Problem

Why Ryan’s Suggested Cut to the ESB Dividend Could Be a Problem

by Deirdre O Meara
Ryan's Suggested Cut to the ESB Dividend Could Be a Problem

Eamon Ryan, Ireland’s Minister for the Environment, recently suggested that the dividend being paid on after-tax profits by ESB be cut from 40% to 20%. The reasoning behind this proposed cut is that it would allow ESB to reinvest its profits into energy infrastructure and renewables. However, this suggestion has come under fire from some quarters. Here’s why Ryan’s proposed cut to the ESB dividend could be a problem.

  1. There Could Be Reputational Issues
    If ESB was seen to cut its dividends, there could be potential reputational issues. This is because such a move could be perceived as the company not being committed to paying its shareholders. Additionally, there is a risk that credit rating agencies could give ESB a “negative outlook” if it cuts its dividends. This would negatively impact the company’s ability to finance its existing plans for investment.
  2. It Might Not Be Enough Money
    Even if the dividend is cut in half, as Ryan suggests, it may not be enough money to make a significant difference in ESB’s ability to reinvest in energy infrastructure and renewables. This is because the dividend payout is just a small portion of the company’s overall profits. In order for Ryan’s proposed cut to have a real impact, it would need to be coupled with additional measures, such as an increase in government funding.
  3. It Could Backfire Politically
    Ryan’s suggested cut to the ESB dividend could also backfire politically. This is because such a move would likely be popular with environmentalists but unpopular with shareholders. As a result, it could alienate voters who are both pro-environment and pro-business.


There are a number of potential problems that could arise if Minister Eamon Ryan’s suggestion to cut the dividend being paid on after-tax profits by ESB from 40% to 20% is implemented. These problems include reputational issues, insufficient funding, and political backlash. Only time will tell if Minister Ryan’s suggestion comes to fruition and what effect it will have on ESB, Ireland’s economy, and Irish politics if it does.

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