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Sinn Féin table levy amendment to bank bail out legislation

1 October, 2008

Sinn Fein Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has tabled an amendment to the Credit Institutions Bill demanding a levy be charged to banks for the term of the bank bail out deal and has also demanded that government immediately outline the 'conditions' agreed with the banking sector.

The Louth TD said:

"Sinn Féin wants to support the Credit Institutions Bill. Stabilising the states financial sector and ensuring it can continue to trade on the international stage is crucial. However the government's refusal to outline in detail the 'conditions' and 'schemes of the guarantee within the Bill is simply not acceptable.

"This is an issue of trust. Do I trust the government to ensure the 'conditions' of the guarantee agreed with the banks are sufficient to protect and benefit the state. Going by their record to date, absolutely not!

"The current finance crisis is of the sectors own making and the government has facilitated it by refusing to put in place adequate regulations. Government refusal to intervene before now has allowed the sector to assist government policy of falsely inflating property prices, leaving the economy fundamentally more exposed that any of its European partners during the current global finance crisis.

"I have tabled an amendment to the Bill demanding that a levy be paid by the banks for the insurance that this state has now offered them. I have also argued that bank management forego bonuses over the two years of the guarantee and indeed cut their exorbitant wages. There also needs to be a strict regulatory regime introduced to monitor bank practice during the next two years and further regulation beyond the time commitment of the Bill.

"Sinn Féin is also calling on government to introduce a mortgage security package. Home owners deserve the same protections afforded the banks. The conditions agreed with the banking sector must include a moratorium on home repossessions while this guarantee stands with every possible measure taken to reschedule mortgage payments and importantly initiatives such as the writing off of negative equity. A proportion of money raised by a bank levy should be redirected to MABS, the state agency that is currently dealing with people suffering in the mortgage market." ENDS

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