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Doherty says Anglo bondholder must not to be paid

24 January, 2012 - by Pearse Doherty TD


Speaking during a Dáil debate on the payment of €1.25billion of taxpayers money to an unsecured unguaranteed Anglo Irish Bank bondholder, due to be paid tomorrow, Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said that “this payment should not be made” and called on the government to “invest in jobs and services not bankers and bondholders.”

Deputy Doherty said:

“Tomorrow the government will allow Anglo Irish Bank to hand over €1.25 billion of taxpayers money to an unsecured, unguaranteed bondholder.

“Despite repeated attempts by my party and others to have the identity of these bondholders revealed the Government continues to shield them.

“They are most likely private speculative investors – hedge funds betting on the financial markets.

“It is also highly likely that they bought this bond on the secondary market at less than face value.

“This means that tomorrow a financial speculator will receive a windfall profit from Irish tax-payers to the value of millions and millions of euro.

“The figure €1.25 billion is just over twice the total cuts to the health service announced for 2012 (€543m). It is more than 8 times the total due to be raised from the Household Charge this year (€160m). It is almost ten times the money to be cut from the education budget in 2012 (€132m).

“The Government must instruct Anglo Irish Bank not to pay this bond. It is time they invested in jobs and services rather than bankers and bondholders.’ ENDS

Full text of Pearse Doherty TD speech to Anglo bondholder debate 24.1.12

I want to commend the technical group for tabling this important motion on the Governments continued pay-out of taxpayer’s money to Anglo Irish Bank.

Tomorrow the Government will allow Anglo Irish Bank to hand over €1.25 billion of taxpayers money to an unsecured, unguaranteed bondholder.

Despite repeated attempts by my party and others to have the identity of these bondholders revealed the Government continues to shield them.

They are most likely private speculative investors - hedge funds betting on the financial markets.

It is also highly likely that they bought this bond on the secondary market at less than face value.

This means that tomorrow a financial speculator will receive a windfall profit from this tax-payer to the value of millions and millions of euro.

I am not surprised to see the Government benches, particularly the back benches empty.

Labour and Fine Gael TDs must be deeply embarrassed by their Governments actions.

After all it was only a few short weeks ago that the Government wrenched €3.8 billion from the economy in the form of spending cuts and tax hikes.

€1.25 billion equals almost two and a half times the total cuts from social welfare due to take place in 2012 (€475m). It is just over twice the total cuts to the health service announced for 2012 (€543). It is more than 8 times the total due to be raised from the Household Charge this year (€160m). It is almost ten times the money to be cut from the education budget in 2012 (€132m).

Minister Varadkar told us on Sunday that not to pay these Anglo bonds would be akin to setting off a bomb in the middle of Dublin. Well Leo, that horse has already bolted.

Your December budget has blown a hole so big in the finances of low and middle income families it will take them years to recover.

And all the while, fleecing the taxpayer and dismantling our public services Fine Gael and Labour are handing over billions of euro to Anglo bondholders.

Worse than this is the national scandal that is the Anglo Irish Promissory Note.

I have been raising this issue since early last year. Despite their promises to break with the failed banking policy of Fianna Fail and the Green Party – Fine Gael and Labour have signed up lock stock and barrel to annual payments of billions of euro from 2011 to 2031.

The first payment of €3.1bn was made on March 31st of last year. Fine Gael and Labour will pay another €3.1bn again this March, and next March and right through until their term of office ends.

While the cost of the Promissory Note itself is €30bn when one adds the capital repayments, the interest payments to Anglo and the cost of servicing the state’s debt in borrowing this sum, the final figure looks set to be in the region of €74.63 billion by the time it is paid off in 2031.

The Promissory Note represents more than 30% of our national debt. The annual payments add 3% onto our exchequer deficit. Last year the payment almost equalled the Government’s austerity adjustment.

This debt is so odious that a broad range of civil society organisations have formed a new campaign, Anglo – Not Our Debt, in order to bring a public focus on this matter. I commend the campaign and give it Sinn Fein’s full support.

The Promissory Note is not our debt. We can-not afford it. The mealy mouthed approach of the Government must end.

Rather than seeking marginal reductions on the cost of servicing the Promissory Note, the Government must declare its inability to pay and enter negotiations with our European Partners to find a resolution that is good for citizens, society and the economy, rather than bondholders, bankers and the Governor of the European Central Bank.

It is time for the Government to stop bailing out the bondholders and bankers and start investing in people, jobs and services.

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