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Friday 24 March 2017

National debt 'doubled at a stroke'

Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

THE Government was accused last night of doubling the country's national debt "at one stroke" with its banking plan.

Fine Gael finance spokesman Richard Bruton said the country was being presented with a debt for €75bn.

Labour Party finance spokesperson Joan Burton said the figures involved were like "Monopoly".

And Sinn Fein finance spokesman Arthur Morgan said the Government should put its banking proposals to the people in a general election.

Mr Bruton said he had a different approach to Anglo Irish Bank and said it was not of systemic importance to the Irish economy.

"We are being told this is the least worst option, but where is the analysis for that?" he said.

The party's deputy leader said it was a "myth" that Anglo's bondholders could not be defaulted upon.

"The debts run up by Sean FitzPatrick in creating his buccaneering banks are not taxpayers' commitments," he said.

He said another strategy was to do what normally happens in the capitalist system: "Its creditors take over and try to recover as much as they can."

Describing the banking plan as a "doubling of the national debt", Mr Bruton said Anglo should not be offered the same cover as the other banks.

Despite 70pc of the bank recapitalisation funding going to Anglo, he said "not one new loan" and "not one job" will be created by that institution.

Mr Bruton also dismissed the idea the banking strategy merely involved "paper transactions".

"It's hard cash that will be on our children's children's children. It is not soft money. It is real hard cash," he said.

Labour's Ms Burton said the recapitalisation and NAMA writedown figure were "truly awesome".

"These figures are about shock and awe. I am shocked and I am awed," she added.

Ms Burton said her party proposed a different approach to the banking crisis, based upon the experience in Sweden.

Irish Independent

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