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Morgan – Government must use new powers to clean up banking sector and protect national interests

7 October, 2008


Speaking to the media at Leinster House today Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD said 'The Minister for Finance has been given extensive powers over the Irish banking sector and it is of utmost importance that these powers are used in the national interest. This means cleaning up the banking sector, ensuring a proper payback for the Irish taxpayer and support for small businesses and home owners at risk because of reckless practices of financial institutions.

Deputy Morgan also announced that he has been in touch with both Fine Gael and Labour in an attempt to form a combined opposition lobby for a meeting with the Finance Minister and Government party spokespersons on Finance to try and agree an all party consensus on the terms and conditions of the insurance deal with Irish banks.

Deputy Morgan said, "The Minister for Finance has been given extensive powers over the Irish banking sector and it is of utmost importance that these powers are used in the national interest. This means cleaning up the banking sector, ensuring a proper payback for the Irish taxpayer and support for small businesses and home owners at risk because of reckless practices of financial institutions. At the very minimum there must be:

· Introduction of strict regulatory regime to monitor bank practice and rigorous oversight to ensure delivery. Given the ineptitude of the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator this needs to be done by an individual independent of the banking sector, who is fully accountable to the Dáil.

· Full disclosure by each of the financial institutions of their level of debt to see exactly what the situation is in terms of toxic loans and other issues.

· A new bank levy to be introduced with immediate effect, a proportion of this money should be diverted to MABS to help homeowners currently in difficulty.

· Requirement on bank management to forego bonuses for the length of time covered by this guarantee

· Review of salary structure of executive level management

· Pay should now be awarded on the basis of consistent salaries -- not on performance returns and risk

· Two year performance review of all those in executive level management

· Requirement to negotiate with mortgage holders on low incomes a plan for the reasonable repayment of their mortgage, including a moratorium on home repossessions of those families struggling to make payments

· Initiatives to review the writing off of negative equity in homes

· A refocus of banking business in support of indigenous small and medium business particularly those in the export sector

"Sinn Féin has been calling for a meeting of all party Finance spokespersons in order to form a consensus on the terms and conditions to be negotiated. This morning I have been in touch with both Fine Gael and Labour in order to establish a combined opposition lobby for such a meeting." ENDS

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