All banks need to be nationalised - Begg


All Irish banks will be nationalised in the next three months, Ictu general secretary David Begg has predicted.

Speaking on RTE radio this afternoon, Mr Begg said all other countries were “inexorably moving” towards nationalisation “and I’m afraid that’s where we’ll have to go too.”

“Look at America today. The two banks, Bank of America and CitiGroup, will be nationalised very shortly. The problem with our own banking sector is that we can’t get money flowing into the economy, into the businesses that need it as their life’s blood in order to keep economic activity going,” he said.

“The problem with recapitalisation is that the banks’ first priority is to shore up their capital and save money. That’s the exact opposite of the Keynesian approach where money is put into the economy,” he added.

He said nationalising the banks was a “question of efficacy, a question of what makes an economy work, of what lubricates it.”

Mr Begg said the Government needed to fight to keep the country’s manufacturing industry afloat.

“For example look at SR Technics. They are not moving to the Far East, they’re going to Zurich and Zurich is not a low cost location. So what I’m afraid we’re seeing internationally is a certain amount of economic nationalism asserting itself,” he said.

“And really we have to concentrate on keeping businesses like that working because manufacturing industry will be the salvation in the future."

Mr Begg said he realised the Government was probably “shocked” by the rapidity of the deterioriation in the economy but said they needed to construct a hopeful basis for moving forward.

“We have a very disaffected population sharing two emotions – fear and anger. Fear because they don’t know what’s going to happen to them and their jobs and anger because they know they had nothing to do with causing it,” he said.

Mr Begg said Ictu’s ten-point plan wasn’t the “be all and end all” but added that it was the “best offer the Government would get.”