Ten years on from bank guarantee and warning signs exist again - Pearse Doherty TD
Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has reflected that ten years on from the bank guarantee that "the lessons that needed to be learned have not been, and that there are warning signs that another economic disaster involving many of the same ingredients could happen again".
Deputy Doherty said:
“Ten years on from the disastrous bank guarantee, complacency cannot be allowed to set in. These are very concerning times.
"We know of the issues of Brexit, the over-reliance on a narrow group of companies behind the Corporation Tax surge, and the chronic under funding of our health services - but we cannot ignore that warning signs are currently present about the role of the banks.
"When the next crisis arrives it will not be a carbon copy of the last one. I am concerned that the fundamental culture in the banks has not changed.
"Hundreds are still waiting on the banks to compensate them for the tracker scandal for which no banker has been held accountable. Irish customers are paying twice the EU average for their mortgages while the banks are lobbying for an end to the salary cap.
"To add insult to injury these same banks are enjoying a corporation tax holiday for many years to come.
"Meanwhile government policy is repeating many of the same old mistakes. Commercial tax incentives are leading to a surge in commercial property fuelled by international capital which is highly geared.
"One of the banking Inquiry’s main findings was that it was commercial property rather than residential that caused so much turmoil.
"The Fiscal Council has pointed to this sector as of being a particular danger of causing overheating.
"We have to ask what lessons have been learned. Regulation has improved, at least on paper, yet banks are still failing customers regularly.
"The banking system is still not functioning the way it should with scandalous sales to vultures replacing the actual work of banks of working through their problems.
"One example of the lack of progress is the failure to legislature to make reckless lending a crime.
"The behaviour of bankers that caused the crash - reckless lending in a culture of bonus payments and chasing huge profits will resurface unless action is taken such as individual jail sentences for lying to the Central Bank, as contained in my legislation passing through the Dáil and reckless lending laws.
"The drift back to complacency must be stopped. Brexit and other threats internationally are real and looming but we cannot take our eyes on the basics at home - the need for steady, reliable tax returns, adequate housing for our people and a functioning banking system."