Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin cannot support nationalisation of hopeless, poisonous institution

20 January, 2009

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon on the legislation to nationalise Anglo Irish Bank Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD reiterated Sinn Féin's commitment to the establishment of a state bank but said his party cannot support the legislation as Anglo Irish Bank is a "hopeless, poisonous institution."

Deputy Morgan said, "I want to reaffirm Sinn Fein's commitment to a state owned bank. We support public ownership of a major banking institution, but this is not nationalisation in the public interest, it is simply a bail out for the former patrons of the now defunct Fianna Fáil Galway race tent.

"The bank guarantee scheme was described by Minister Lenihan at the time as 'the cheapest bailout in the world'. Well with this Bill the tax payer is now set to take on a €73 billion loan book - on top of the €10 billion botched recapitalisation plan and the €440 billion guarantee scheme without being given any information as to what it is all about.

"This crisis was 'made in Ireland'. It was created by the corrupt culture endemic in our financial system and encouraged by successive Fianna Fáil Governments out of their love affair with greedy property developers.

"The revelations about the hidden loans made by Séan Fitzpatrick and others have exposed the systemic fraud in Irish banking. It has shown that senior bank managers and their auditors cannot be trusted, that our officials in the financial regulator are incompetent; and that the Government's banking policy is an abysmal failure.

"Anglo Irish is Ireland's Enron, but unlike the United States there will be no criminal investigation and nobody will be brought to justice.

"It beggars belief that Séan Fitzpatrick can get away scot free having embezzled over eighty million euro while a man in my own constituency of Louth is imprisoned for simply not having a dog licence.

"If Fitzpatrick did not break the law in fraudulently obtaining tens of millions of euros, then why aren't there laws to make such behaviour illegal?

"In handling this crisis, the Government are simply making it up as they go along. They told us 4 weeks ago that any 'nationalisation would be affirming that we have no confidence in the bank as a bank to survive'. Now they tell us that it will be 'business as usual' when we nationalise Anglo.

"They haven't told us what the actual volume of bad debts is nor will they tell us why the bail out is even necessary. Each time we ask questions, we are accused of putting the 'national interest at risk'. Well Sinn Féin believes that the public does have a right to know if the Government is going to bankrupt the State.

"We support the establishment of a major state bank that will give credit to SMEs; that protect family homes and that will restore confidence in the Irish economy. This means nationalising a useful bank such as Bank of Ireland or AIB - not a hopeless, poisoned institution that we have no information about. We will therefore be opposing this Bill." ENDS

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