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Government can but won’t tell State banks to cut rates and stop repossessions - Tóibín

22 April, 2015

Sinn Féin’s Peadar Tóibín has said that the government can tell State owned banks to cut interest rates and get real with the mortgage issue, but chooses not to. Deputy Tóibín was speaking after the Finance Committee heard from AIB CEO David Duffy that ultimately the bank is answerable to its shareholders. Minister Noonan owns 99% of the shares.

Deputy Tóibín said:

“Today the notion that government Ministers and TDs are frustrated by the bank’s policies on interest rates and mortgage arrears was shown up for what it is - dishonest politics. In reply to my questions Mr. Duffy confirmed that ultimately the bank answers to its shareholders. He also confirmed that no Minister has ever asked his bank to change policy on interest rates or arrears.

“The 110,000 families in mortgage arrears and all those being ripped off on their variable rate mortgages deserve better than crocodile tears from Ministers and backbench government TDs.

“It is not by accident that the State ended up owning these banks yet to listen to Minister Noonan and government TDs they are frustrated bystanders. It should not be lost on citizens that tomorrow the Banking Inquiry will hear why AIB cost the people €20.7bn. The government owns AIB, one would imagine listening to the exchanges today that it was the other way around.

“Nobody has held the banks to account more than Sinn Féin and we will continue to do so. However there comes  a point when  the government has to step up and use its mandate to act in the people’s interest or else stop with the crocodile tears. The fact is that the government can  but chooses not to tell the banks what to do.”

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