Business Irish

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Taoiseach neglects to discuss new bank debt plans

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny didn't even discuss plans to get a new EU deal on bank debt with his ministers on Monday, despite his repeatedly claiming that it was a priority for the Government.

Mr Kenny is supposed to bring the question of reducing the burden of bank debt on the taxpayers at a meeting of EU leaders later this month.

In the wake of the Yes vote in the EU fiscal treaty referendum, the Taoiseach and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore claimed their hand was strengthened in seeking a deal.

But ministers didn't even discuss the matter at the Cabinet's first meeting since the referendum result.

Strategy

"There wasn't a specific discussion on bank debt today," a government spokesman said.

"There may not have been an in-depth discussion today but there is a strategy."

The spokesman said the lack of discussion at Cabinet did "not reflect that it is not a Government priority".

The Government is hoping developments in Spain will result in the new EU bailout fund being used to pump money into banks.

At that point, the Coalition will make a pitch for bank-funding borrowing by the State to be put back on to the books of the banks through the bailout fund.

Unanimous

The unanimous support of countries is needed for the new bailout fund to be used.

But the Government admits it does not have a veto on the move, even if Ireland is not benefiting.

Mr Kenny played down a deal on bank debt being struck this month, despite passing the referendum.

Germany has signalled it is not in favour of a new deal for Ireland, regardless of the referendum result.

Mr Kenny said the Greek and French elections, the Spanish banks crisis and the ratification of the treaty by a number of countries will be the focus for June.

Irish Independent

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