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Doherty opposes nationalisation of Anglo Irish Bank in Seanad

20 January, 2009 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty has opposed the legislation to nationalise Anglo Irish Bank in the Seanad this evening. Speaking in the Seanad this evening Senator Doherty called for the establishment of a major state bank that can deal with credit for SMEs and restructure mortgages but described Anglo Irish Bank as a failed business and a failed banking policy.

He said, "Sinn Féin is opposing this Bill that has been brought to the house tonight. We support the establishment of a public bank, but Anglo is not it and we should not be taking on this hopeless, poisonous institution.

"We are being asked tonight to support the nationalisation of what is, in effect, a failed business and a failed banking policy.

"With this Bill we are being asked to take Anglo Irish without being told what the actual volume of bad debts are. The Taoiseach was asked three times last week in one interview about the potential liability to the tax payer to bad debts as a result of the nationalisation of Anglo Irish. On each occasion he simply ignored the question. If even a fifth of the Anglo Irish loan book contains bad debts the tax payer will be facing a dooms day scenario. The government is also withholding information on to whom the loans have been made. And given the love affair that exists between greedy developers and Fianna Fáil can we really trust this government to deal with these debts in an impartial manner?

"We do not know what direction Anglo will be taking under state ownership. The Taoiseach had said last week that it will be business as usual - but I think everyone on the real world can see that we cannot have a state bank continue to irresponsibly finance property development. The property bubble has burst and the sooner Fianna Fáil realises this the better.

"Sinn Féin has, for a long time been calling for the establishment of a major state bank to address these problems and what this means is the nationalisation of a major banking institution that deals with credit for SMEs, that can restructure mortgages to stop families from losing their homes and that can give confidence back to the Irish people and workers who have the skills and knowledge to get us out of the economic turmoil that we find ourselves in. This means renationalising the Bank of Ireland or AIB, not Anglo Irish.

"We need the government to finally change its 'private good-public bad' mindset and to finally enable the state to take control of our infrastructure and resources through initiatives such as bringing Eircom into public ownership and the nationalisation of the Corrib gas pipe.

"We need a major bank that can play a major role in reviving our economy. We need a new and transparent form of public banking. This Bill does not provide that and Anglo Irish is not the bank that we should be nationalising. I will therefore be opposing this bill." ENDS

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