David McWilliams: If the EU wants our agreement, the ECB must help our banks
THE European Central Bank (ECB) will ultimately have to take over the mortgage book of the big banks. Or at least that is what will have to happen for this country and our economy to begin the process of a normal recovery.
It mightn't be a bad idea to make ratification of the new fiscal compact deal contingent on the ECB taking the mortgage book from the banks. Never mind your promissory notes, the real volcano building under the finances of this fragile State of ours is the deeply underwater mortgage books of the big banks -- Bank of Ireland, AIB and Irish Permanent.
A possible way out is to hand this problem to the ECB in the same way as the Greeks handed their government debt problem to the ECB last week and the ECB took the loss. Be in no doubt the Portuguese will be next in the queue, so while we are waiting for our turn we might as well figure out our demand and our price.