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Sinn Féin will be demanding proper payback for Irish Taxpayers

2 October, 2008

Speaking this morning during the Dáil debate on the Seanad Amendments to the State intervention in the Credit Institutions crisis Bill, Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said his party will be demanding proper payback for Irish Taxpayers including a bank levy which should be proportionate to the level of risk involved for each of these banks.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "This has been a very important and difficult debate because the crisis we faced this week was as a direct result of the reckless behaviour of leading players in the banking sector and the failure of the government over many years to put in place adequate regulations to protect ordinary in-debtors. It was not helped by the government refusal to set out the detail of the terms and conditions of the deal with the banks or the true level of indebtedness.

"We did not take our decision to support this bill lightly. We have concerns and reservations. We supported the final passage of the bill because we believe this legislation is about more than the banks - it's about offering security to ordinary citizens, to investors and to Irish businesses which in turn means jobs.

"In the days and weeks ahead we will be demanding in the debate on the terms and conditions that there be a proper payback for Irish taxpayers. This means at a minimum a new bank levy which should be proportionate to the level of risk involved for each of these banks. Furthermore a proportion of the money raised by this levy should be diverted to MABS to help those who are currently suffering the negative effects of bad banking practices.

"The fact of the matter remains that there are people waking up this morning who are before the courts trying to stop their homes being repossessed. The next debate that the Dáil needs to have should be about helping those who have lost their jobs, people who are mortgaged to the hilt, people who are at risk of losing their homes. That's the next package that the government needs to come forward with.

"Those who took reckless decisions cannot be rewarded for bad practices. Finance Minister Brian Lenihan last night said that it would not be appropriate for the government to intervene in commercial decisions regarding the wages and bonuses received by leading bank officials. I think it is not only appropriate, it is ethically correct and the Government should act accordingly.

"Most importantly of all, there 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 this Bill.

"There is still time for the government to take on board the concerns raised during the debate and to do this prior to the introduction of any new regulations. I would call on the government to bring together Finance spokespersons to get a consensus on the terms and conditions that should apply." ENDS

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