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Rainy Day Fund for the Banks must be radically changed or swiftly rejected by the Dáil – Jonathan O’Brien TD

26 March, 2019 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Sinn Féin deputy finance spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien has called on opposition parties to assist in radically changing the Government’s Contingency Reserve Fund, which appears before the Finance Committee this week.

Speaking today, the Cork North-Central TD said:

“On Thursday the Government’s National Surplus Bill which seeks to establish a contingency reserve fund comes before the Finance Committee.

"It is essential, given the crises we face and challenges to come, that opposition parties assist Sinn Féin in radically altering the design of the Fund. Short of that, they should ensure that the Fund is swiftly rejected.

“This fund was sold by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil as a rainy day fund, but details of its design have shown this not to be the case.

"The Parliamentary Budget Office has itself asked that it not be called a rainy day fund, since it would never be used to boost general spending during an economic downturn.

“This Bill allows for €2 billion from the Irish Strategic Investment Fund and €2.5 billion of taxpayers’ money to be transferred into the fund, with its only explicit purpose being to bail out the banks.

“That is unacceptable.

“Given we are facing a housing crisis and face further challenges in the forms of Brexit and climate change, diverting such vast resources into a badly designed fund that would act as a funding gap for the banks is unacceptable and bad economic policy.

“On Thursday we will table amendments to ensure that this Fund cannot be used to shore up the banks, but instead will be available for capital investment in areas such as housing.

“We would call on all opposition parties to support these amendments. If it remains in its current form, it should be roundly rejected.”

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