Monday 20 November 2017

When bank and tax crisis merged into hell of a mess

The European Union ruling on Ireland's debt leaves Lenihan's bank plans in tatters, writes Daniel McConnell

Last December, in the aftermath of budget day, amid tense exchanges and a barrage of abuse from Fine Gael, Taoiseach Brian Cowen claimed the €4bn injection of cash into Anglo Irish Bank was an investment, from which the Irish taxpayer would see a return.

Last Thursday, the EU blew Mr Cowen's claim out of the water. The EU, in what is in truth a rap on the knuckles for Mr Lenihan and co, declared the €4bn given to Anglo must be counted on the Government's day-to-day spending books.

While dismissed by the Department of Finance as a mere "technical adjustment", the EU's ruling has pushed Ireland's debt level from 11.8 per cent to 14.3 per cent, the highest of any country in Europe.

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