Seán Neeson MLA said: “This purchase must be viewed purely in business and economic terms. Economic protectionism doesn’t make sense in any context.
“This acquisition must only be judged in terms of whether or not it is good for Northern Ireland consumers rather than in any spurious political terms. The single electricity market for the island of Ireland has already been established, is working very well and this also makes economic sense.
“The notion that anyone should judge this any differently just because ESB is government-owned is belied by the reality that Northern Ireland is seeking international investment from all quarters.
“There will be circumstances particularly in relation to investment coming from the Middle East where there will be a heavy degree of government influence and it seems strange that some unionists seem to be making an issue of the ESB investment.”