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Tuesday 20 February 2018

It's time to wind down 'dead duck' Anglo Irish, says FF TD

Patricia McDonagh

A FIANNA Fail backbencher last night launched a scathing attack on government banking policy and said Anglo Irish Bank was a "dead duck".

Sean Fleming said the bank, which has received €22bn from the taxpayer, should be wound down and taken over by NAMA.

The comments by the constituency colleague of Taoiseach Brian Cowen contradicts the Government's approach to Anglo.

The lender unveiled a €12.7bn loss for the 15 months to the end of December, after writing down €15.1bn of toxic loans to developers.

This prompted Finance Minister Brian Lenihan to pump €8.3bn into the bank, which was previously propped up to the tune of €4bn last year.

Mr Lenihan has warned it may need a further €10bn to keep it going.

During a Dail debate on the Central Bank Reform Bill, Mr Fleming said the cost of closing down Anglo was actually getting close to that of keeping it open. He said the bank probably had additional bad loans which were unconnected with property.

"In my opinion (Anglo) is not a bank. It has long passed life-support. It is a dead duck," he told the Dail. "What is absolutely certain is that it is not of systemic value to the Irish economy. I am saying now there should be an orderly wind down of Anglo Irish Bank.


"I actually believe at this stage, given that 50pc of Anglo is on its way over to NAMA, I actually believe 100pc of Anglo should be transferred over to NAMA," he added.

"There is no better organisation to manage an orderly winddown over the next 10 years of Anglo Irish Bank." He said Irish banks were too big to regulate, and an example of this was the pension top-up of €1.5m to former Bank of Ireland chief executive Richie Boucher.

"Somebody might have legal advice to back up the point, but it's still not correct," he said. Mr Fleming said the Government had a duty on behalf of the taxpayer to deal with it. Fianna Fail TD Michael McGrath criticised bankers for giving "two fingers" to the Government. But, former Junior Minister Ned O'Keeffe criticised the decision to give Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield 700 more staff. Praising former regulator Patrick Neary as a decent and honourable man, he said there was nothing worse than financial over-regulation.

Irish Independent

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