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Friday 17 November 2017

Ministers insist EU will approve Anglo plan

Fiach Kelly and Sarah Collins

GOVERNMENT ministers yesterday insisted that the new plan for Anglo Irish Bank will be passed by the European Commission.

And the Greens said the plan meets their aims -- even though the bank's wind-down period is longer than they hoped for.

Outspoken Green senator Dan Boyle last month said the party wanted the bank wound down in less than 10 years, but Finance Minister Brian Lenihan rejected that approach this week, saying it would take as long as 15 years.

Green Party leader John Gormley yesterday maintained the party was looking to get the best value for money for taxpayers -- and claimed the new plan would do precisely that.

"What we were looking for is a wind-down, but one that is in the best interests of the taxpayer and I think that is uppermost in our minds," Mr Gormley said. "I am confident that the path on which we have embarked will do exactly that."

He also said he was confident that the new plans, which will see Anglo split into a funding bank and asset recovery bank, will be passed by the European Commission.

"I think they understand that we have taken decisive action in relation to Anglo and that that was what was required. The split between the funding bank and the asset recovery bank has been met with overall approval and that was reflected in the spread yesterday."

The Dublin South-East TD was unable to give a final cost on Anglo, saying it will be announced "as quickly as possible".

Health Minister Mary Harney echoed Mr Gormley's views that the scheme will be given the thumbs-up by Europe.

"The Finance Minister briefed the Government on his discussions with the European Commission and we are confident that we will have the support of both the European Central Bank and the European Commission in our efforts to deal with the banking situation," Ms Harney said.

"I believe there is no alternative to the decisions the Government has made. I never thought 10 years ago that I would be involved in a government that would have to make these decisions, but they are necessary to ensure that the country has a viable and stable banking system. That's the only way we can return to economic prosperity, and the decisions the Government made were made on the best advice available to us."

European Affairs Minister Dick Roche said a 15-year wind-down would cost the taxpayer around €1.5bn a year, but the Government had already ploughed €25bn into the troubled institution.

Irish Independent

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