Wednesday 21 March 2018

Finance Minister confident all taxpayers' money invested in three main banks will be recovered

Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan says he is confident the entire tranche of taxpayers' money invested in three of the country's main banks will be "fully recovered".

Mr Noonan today said flagged the Government's intentions to sell some of its stakes in AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB.

Speaking in the Dail, the minister said the sale of 25pc of the stake in Permanent TSB was part of the Government's "exit strategy".

"The exit strategy is about recovery of the full cost of the taxpayer’s investment in these institutions and using the proceeds to further reduce the debt," Mr Noonan said.

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"The sale of 25pc of PTSB that concluded yesterday, further improves the position and I am now confident that all the taxpayers money invested in AIB, BOI and PTSB will be fully recovered," he added.

Meanwhile, Mr Noonan says he "looks forward" to holding discussions with the country's pillar banks on their plans to slash interest rates for mortgage customers.

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The Fine Gael politician said addressing personal debt is "essential" for the Government as the economy "returns to strength".

He told the Dail that the number of households falling into mortgage arrears has increased due to the recession.

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Speaking during his address to mark the 'Spring Statement', Mr Noonan said he intends to meet the six main lenders next month to discuss the lowering of interest rates.

He said he is currently awaiting a report from the Central Bank, following which the discussions with the banks will be initiated.

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"The Central Bank will report back to me in the coming weeks and I intend, during the month of May, to initiate discussions with the six main lenders in Irish Banking on the issue and look forward to hearing their plans for reducing interest rates," Mr Noonan said.

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