Speaking during a Dáil debate on extending the banking guarantee by twelve months today Sinn Féin finance spokesperson, Pearse Doherty TD accused Fine Gael and Labour of “the single biggest and most expensive political U-turn in Dáil history” and of writing “another blank cheque for the banks, including Anglo Irish Bank.”
Deputy Doherty said:
“We are being asked to saddle the Irish state and the taxpayer with a unknown liability on top of the existing guarantee of €100bn. We are being asked to write a blank cheque for the banks, including Anglo Irish Bank. Given the volatility in the Eurozone it is highly likely that the scale of this liability will increase.
“Given the risk to the taxpayer involved in the bank guarantee this must be the single biggest and most expensive political U-turn in Dáil history.
“Of course today does not mark the U-turn itself. This sad event took place, behind closed doors in Government buildings in June of this year when the Cabinet agreed to extend the bank guarantee until the end of 2011.
“But today unlike in June, every member of the Government, including backbenchers, will have to vote on whether to breath a further 12 months of life into what is universally regarded as the most costly and the most damaging decision ever taken by an Irish government.
“The scale of this U-turn is truly breath-taking, given the depth of opposition to the bank guarantee, particularly from the Labour party.
“If there is to be one single decision which represents the Labour party’s capitulation to the failed policies of Fianna Fail it will surely be this. So much for not writing blank cheques for failed banks.
“Today Fine Gael and Labour asked the Dáil to write another blank cheque for the banks, including Anglo Irish Bank, to seek additional government guarantees on private banking debt. They asked us to do this as uncertainty and volatility in the banking system increases and with it the level of risk to the taxpayer.
“Unlike others in this house Sinn Féin will remain true to our principles and to our word and vote against this irresponsible request.” ENDS