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Taxpayers 'being treated like fools' over 'obscene' payments to bondholders

IRISH taxpayers will hand over another €1bn to "unguaranteed" bondholders in January.

This confirmation of further pain comes as the Government today surrendered €750m of our money to speculators who "took a punt" on Anglo Irish Bank shares.

TDs reacted to the news, calling the payment "obscene" and saying Irish people were "being treated like fools".

And Finance Minister Michael Noonan admitted today that the European Central Bank rejected his requests to keep hold of the money.

"I'm not too pleased Anglo is being paid back. I always thought that with a bank which is a speculative bank, where the Irish people had no involvement, that the arrangements made by the last Government to secure it was a disaster.

"The only way out -- and I said it during the election -- that we would act in consultation with the European Central Bank and we just couldn't get that agreement."

But the confirmation today that yet another mammoth amount of taxpayers' cash will be signed over in January to unidentified financial merchants has caused further fury.

Chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Alan Dukes admitted that "somewhere over €1bn" would be paid to unguaranteed bondholders in January 2012.

And Mr Dukes -- who is the former Fine Gael leader -- admitted that many of the said bondholders have "taken a punt" on profiting from Anglo shares.

"They will make a profit because they've bought them at a time when the price was considerably less ... It's being paid back to some people who made a punt.

"I can understand how people feel upset about it. The issue goes back some time. I can understand their stress at the level of debt we have to deal with.

"This is a bond issued five years ago, it matures today and according to the normal rules of the market it comes to be paid."

Wicklow Independent TD Stephen Donnelly described the payments as "obscene".

He told the Herald: "I understand that €2.5bn will be paid over to bondholders just based on Anglo loans alone next year.

"The people need to understand that this is unguaranteed, unsecured money that the people have absolutely no moral or legal obligation to pay.

"It would pay for the special needs assistant cuts for the next 350 years and for Loughlinstown Hospital for 20 years."

And Independent TD for Dublin North Central Finian McGrath told the Herald that taxpayers were today "being treated like fools".

"On the day we find out we 'lost' €3.6bn, we also hear that yet another ¤1bn of taxpayers' money is on the way down the tube. It's a kick in the balls for people in this country, we're being treated like absolute fools."

See Dan White - Page 14


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