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People paying back of toxic banking debt is most potent symbol of everything that went wrong in Ireland – O’Brien

26 November, 2013 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Deputy Jonathan O’Brien has said that people suffering under harsh austerity repaying toxic banking is the most potent symbol of everything that went wrong in Ireland.

Speaking in the Dail tonight, Deputy O’Brien said: “This year brought cuts to the elderly and the young as well as to some Single Parents. When a government can make such brutal cuts it must ask itself how it can justify keeping this debt that is patently not the peoples’ debts on our books.

“Sinn Féin was right when we said the bondholders should be burned and the conservatives across the floor dismissed us. Now burning the bondholders is on its way to being EU law.

“Then earlier this year another trick of sorts. It is true that the new so-called deal gives us longer to repay the debt but it doesn’t change the fact that it is not our debt.

“You wound down the bank but you did not wind down the debt.

“The Government have traded the €28bn promissory note debt for a sovereign liability to the state of up to €60bn.

“Rather than seek a write down in the debt the government has kicked the debt can further down the road. In doing so, it has cranked up the long-term costs to the state.

“This debt will now not only be paid by this generation of citizens but by our children and our children’s children, for the next 40 years.

“While it may provide the state with some short term deficit relief it significantly increases the cost of bailing out Anglo Irish Bank.

“Is there a more visible, more potent symbol of everything that went wrong in Ireland that the people suffering under harsh austerity are still being asked to repay a toxic debt?

“Let’s not confuse matters- this government had taken on the Anglo debt as formal sovereign debt and has committed to repaying every last cent of it.

“Sinn Féin says that this is wrong and urges this government to act on their mandate and remove this burden from the backs of the Irish people.”

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