Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte has said that Bord Gáis Energy will be sold despite recent reports to the contrary.

Mr Rabbitte was speaking in the Seanad after it passed the legislation that will pave the way for the sale of the State asset.

The minister thanked senators for debating and passing the legislation, adding that the sale would increase competition in the sector.

However, the move was criticised by Sinn Féin who said it was not a good day for the country when a profit-making State company was about to the sold.

Last month, Malaysian state power firm Tenaga Nasional scrapped its bid for Bord Gáis Energy.

The firm said it was withdrawing from the bidding process as it wanted to "focus on our current projects, especially domestic ones".