Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Bill 2013: Second Stage (Continued)

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Unrevised

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Arthur Spring: Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring] What about the facts?

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin I did not interrupt the Taoiseach or the Tánaiste.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Joanna Tuffy): Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy There should be no further interruption.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin It is on the record. He said the impact without a guarantee would have been absolutely catastrophic, over and above the very negative impact of the recession itself.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte What about the guarantee going forward?

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin In that context, when the Minister came to power there was €36 billion for unguaranteed bondholders, with €16 billion of that unguaranteed and unsecured. Every one of them was paid.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath With interest.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin That was nothing at all to do with the bank guarantee or the bailout. There should be less grandstanding. The parties opposite promised before the last election that they would burn the bondholders. That did not happen and the Government moved to the promissory note. That was fine.

Deputy Michael McNamara: Information on Michael McNamara Zoom on Michael McNamara I suppose the Deputy is not looking to score points.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin At this stage the people deserve better than the melodrama and grandstanding.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The Deputy does not grandstand.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin They deserve better than to have people here who are disingenuous and dishonest in their presentations this evening.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The Deputy is one of the authors of this mess.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The people should be able to do without that.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The people know that.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The Minister is being disorderly this evening as he does not like the truth.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Joanna Tuffy): Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy The Minister should allow the Deputy conclude.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin He does not like the truth. I am saying very calmly what is the truth.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte It is very hard to listen to this after the mess those opposite left us in.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The Minister is being disorderly, as ever, because he does not like the truth. I would like the opportunity to continue my speech and to be afforded the same opportunity I afforded the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and the Minister. We did not interfere or intervene with any speaker and I would appreciate it if I could be afforded the same courtesy by the Minister, Deputy Rabbitte, and others.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte Do not misquote the Government.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin I have misquoted nobody this evening. The leak of information which caused this emergency session should be investigated. It means we are proceeding with one part of a deal before the whole deal is agreed. It is hoped that this will not cause further problems on top of the reported annoyance at political posturing by Ministers. In the limited time we have had available to be briefed or to seek advice, it appears that this legislation is a legitimate part in a process of lessening the impact of banking debt on the public finances. However, there are number of important questions we would like the Government to answer.

  We have been told that this is not last-minute legislation and it has been worked on for some time. Therefore, the Government should be in a position to answer questions in some detail and extend the Minister's reply beyond the ridiculous five minutes allocated. We have indicated that Fianna Fáil's intention is to support this legislation and we accept the Minister's statement this evening, given the risk to the €14 billion in assets. As Deputy Michael McGrath noted, in principle and apart from an prospective deal, we have no objection to the winding up of the IBRC and its absorption into NAMA. Nevertheless, I welcome the conversion to NAMA by the Taoiseach and others as I remind them that when the body was established, he used some very colourful language to describe it. He indicated it was a €90 billion "double or quits" gamble with taxpayers' money. The Fine Gael Party leader at the time confirmed that his party would vote against NAMA, which he called "a sweetheart deal" for the banks. Admittedly, the Taoiseach has come a long way since making those statements as Leader of the Opposition but his comments may be somewhat similar to what he would now accuse members of other elements of the Opposition now.

  The IBRC was always intended to be a temporary entity and its creation prevented the need to immediately resolve all issues with Anglo Irish Bank. Crucially, it prevented an immediate and unknown crisis of much greater magnitude. The Governor of the Central Bank, Professor Honohan, described the bank as "systemic". It has the form of a bank but in substance it has gone about the business of trying to recoup as much money as possible. Its liquidation in this manner should not have a significant impact but it will facilitate technical changes to the Central Bank's balance sheet required to refinance the promissory notes.

  The IBRC currently has well over 850 employees focused on recouping debts. They are managing court cases against a wide range of people, including those who are brazenly trying to avoid full responsibility for their own debts. We would like the Government to explain what will happen to IBRC's employees. The Minister indicated that de facto  they will lose their jobs tomorrow morning, and this was repeated by the Taoiseach and Tánaiste. I respectfully suggest to the Taoiseach and Ministers that much more needs to be done to support the workers concerned with regard to employment contracts and issues.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Hear, hear.


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