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Friday 17 January 2020

Stop now: Your call to Government on bailout

Largest-ever poll on issue has 95pc demanding an end to Anglo aid


The overwhelming majority, almost 95pc, of Irish people want the €22bn bailout of Anglo Irish Bank to stop and stop now, according to the largest opinion poll yet conducted on the issue.

More than 25,000 people took part in the first-ever Sunday Independent Text Referendum, a sample over 20 times the size of standard polls. Of that, 24,017 said they want the controversial bailout to stop immediately, while just 1,463 voted 'No', meaning they want the State support to continue.

Anglo Irish Bank was nationalised in January 2009 and has since been referred to as "failed" by Finance Minister Brian Lenihan and Patrick Honohan, the Central Bank Governor.

Last week, Aengus Fanning, Editor of the Sunday Independent, on launching the Text Referendum, said: "This is your chance to shout stop -- or not."

Readers were asked the question: "Do you want to stop the Anglo Irish Bank bailout now?"

The Government and Finance Minister Brian Lenihan in particular will have to acknowledge the public's desire, given the huge response and the overwhelming wave of opposition to the continuing support of Anglo Irish Bank.

Last week, Anglo Irish Bank was in the news again.

At a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee, Secretary General of the Department of Finance Kevin Cardiff said that Anglo made a presentation to the Department on September 18, 2008 -- 12 days before the guarantee -- claiming it was in "old-fashioned banking" and had "no requirement for external equity capital".

Such claims were never given "any real credit", said Mr Cardiff. The Department had not been taken in by the bank's "overly optimistic" outlook and it had been sceptical about the bank's financial health before the true scale of its loan losses became apparent.

"Their communications may well have been disingenuous, extremely so in the case of some we received, but they probably thought that they could use their skills and flair to get through the problems," he said.

It took a while "for reality to dawn" in other institutions, even after the peak of the crisis, he said, as they did not accept they needed capital until much later. "In some cases the people were likely to have been dishonest or disingenuous at least," he said.

"In other cases, people believed in the line they were producing and maybe there was some mix of self-deception and attempting to put a bright spin for us and some disingenuousness or dishonesty in some quarters on some issues."

Mr Cardiff said this was one case where the bank mixed "disingenuousness with self-delusion".

Sunday Independent

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