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Government hands over €1.3 Billion for Irish Life purchase without Dáil approval – Doherty

28 March, 2012 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Responding to the news today that the Government has bought Irish Life for €1.3 billion, the Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said it beggered belief that the Government would agree to a deal of such magnitude without seeking approval from the Dáil.

Deputy Doherty said “on the one hand the Government was looking to sell off €3 billion of state assets, while spending almost half that amount on buying a bank asset.”

He also raised concerns about how this will be received by the 80,000 mortgage holders in Permanent TSB who are forced by the bank to pay top rates for mortgages.

Doherty said:

“Today the Government, under emergency banking legislation, bought Irish Life for €1.3 billion. It will not be lost on people that this figure is eight times the amount to be raised from the household charge and almost half of what is expected to be raised from the sale of state assets. It beggars belief that the Government would agree to a deal of this size without any consultation of the Dáil.

“I am also concerned about how this announcement will be received by the 80,000 homeowners who are forced to pay excessive variable rates of up to 6% on their mortgages by Permanent TSB, which is essentially being recapitalised by this €1.3 billion and is a state-owned bank. These homeowners have had no help from the bank or the state and yet here is their tax money being used once again to bail out the bank.

“This Government is continuously showing contempt for the democratically elected institutions of this state. Already this week, we have seen the Government sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Chinese Investors on behalf of this state which may deal with the sale of state assets and yet the contents of that MoU are not being disclosed.

“When the Government is making decisions which entail such a huge cost to the Exchequer, it should become practice to bring the decision to the Dáil to at the very least debate the issue before it is signed off. I have argued that the Government cannot abuse its mandate and sell off state assets without consultation and I also believe it cannot and should not make acquisitions such as this without seeking the approval of the Dáil.”

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