Sunday 19 November 2017

Declan Ganley hits back at claim he’ll profit from No vote

Declan Ganley speaking to media in response to comments made by Paschal Donoghue TD outside the Westbury Hotel, Dublin.
Declan Ganley speaking to media in response to comments made by Paschal Donoghue TD outside the Westbury Hotel, Dublin.

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

BUSINESSMAN Declan Ganley was put on the defensive yesterday about his involvement in a company which helps people to set up Swiss bank accounts during the eurozone crisis.

He dismissed claims that he would benefit financially from a No vote in the fiscal treaty -- which could lead to more people looking to get money out of the eurozone.

"It's nonsense -- if we were advertising you would have seen the ads. It's a distraction. The Irish Government is trying to panic, to rush people into the wrong decision for this country," he said.

Mr Ganley has a stake of just under 50pc in St Columbanus AG which promises investors a "safe haven" in Switzerland at a time when there is an "unstable eurozone banking sector" and "fragile peripheral economies" in Europe.

Weakening

But yesterday, Mr Ganley denied that the company was weakening the euro currency by helping Irish people to open Swiss bank accounts and convert their euro savings to Swiss francs.

"No, that's not what we're doing. That's not what St Columbanus does. It's an asset management company. It's not doing that. It's a misrepresentation," Mr Ganley said.

The St Columbanus AG company's official website states the following: "Each client is given the opportunity to open a bank account with one of our financial partners in Switzerland.

"This bank account becomes the basis on which each client's savings and investment portfolio is developed and managed."

The firm is named after the Irish saint who established monasteries in France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Italy more than 1,400 years ago.

During an interview outside Dublin's Westbury Hotel yesterday, Mr Ganley refused to say if any Irish people had availed of the company's services. And he dismissed claims that he would benefit financially from a No vote in the fiscal treaty -- which the Yes side says would cause more instability in the eurozone.

Mr Ganley had earlier been accused by Fine Gael TD Paschal Donohoe of setting up a company which aimed to profit from economic instability across the eurozone.

"A No vote, which Declan Ganley is promoting, will create instability within Ireland and add to the uncertainty within the eurozone," Mr Donohoe said.

"It is this very uncertainty that Mr Ganley's company will profit from."

But Mr Ganley said he was gravely concerned that the current policy being pursued by the eurozone and the EU will collapse the euro.

"I do not want to see that happen. The centrifugal forces that would release would be a disaster. I do not want to see Greece being forced out of the euro. I think the euro needs to be saved," he said.

Irish Independent

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