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Anglo’s debt is not the people's debt – McDonald

8 November, 2011

Speaking in the Dáil this evening the Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald TD criticised the government’s failure to negotiate a write-off of the unguaranteed Anglo bondholder pay-outs and annual promissory note adding "the last crowd walked us into the crisis and now this government seems intent on keeping us here".

Deputy McDonald said:

“Just a few short months ago the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform promised that the government would seek to share losses with investors holding unguaranteed unsecured bonds in Anglo and Irish Nationwide. Burden-sharing with bondholders would be sought ‘by agreement’ and ‘through clear, determined, competent negotiation’.

“Eight months on and this government’s record on negotiation has been found wanting, despite Fine Gael and Labour’s pre-election hyperbole to the contrary. Its failure to renegotiate this debt, along with the travesty of its medium-term fiscal statement announced last week, paints its own picture.

“The last crowd walked us into the crisis and now this government seems intent on keeping us here.

“Tax revenues continue to fall. The drop in VAT receipts is a further reflection of the decimation of the domestic economy and people's spending power due to austerity measures directed at middle and low income earners by this government. Growth projections continue on a downwards trajectory.

“Hospital beds remain closed. Special needs assistants in schools are becoming a privilege not a right. The elderly are facing into winter with savage cuts to their gas and electricity allowances.

“It is wrong of this government to impose this kind of continued austerity and hardship on the people whilst it presides over Anglo’s payout to a single unguaranteed, unsecured senior bondholder last week to the value of $1 billion.

“By removing the financial obligation on the public purse created by the promissory note, this government could reduce our debt-to-GDP ratio to approximately 87%, thus easing the State’s transition back to the international bond markets, reducing the deficit and getting the economy and society back to an even keel.

“Negotiation is a dialogue. Two sides meet, arguments are put forward and a compromise is eventually found. This is not a unilateral act. It is a process that requires a mature and confident approach. It’s time now for Labour and Fine Gael ministers to step up and right the wrong of socialising Anglo’s debt.”

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