Dáil debating emergency legislation on Anglo liquidation
The Government is expected to introduce emergency legislation this evening to liquidate the failed Anglo Irish Bank. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg
The Government is on the verge of a deal with the European Central Bank which is expected to ease the terms of the burden of the country’s bank debt.
Emergency legislation is being rushed through the Dáil and Seanad tonight with both Houses sitting into the early hours to pass a Bill allowing for the liquidation of Irish Bank Resolution Corp (formerly the failed Anglo Irish Bank).
Copies of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Bill 2013 was given to TDs via their pigeon holes in Leinster House shortly before 10.30pm. Opposition finance spokespersons have been briefed on the Bill.
According to the Explanatory Memorandum the aim of the Bill is to wind up the IBRC, end the State’s exposure to the IBR and assist with the restoration of the financial position of the State.
Government sources expressed confidence tonight that the legislation would pave the way for a deal which will amount to a major improvement in the terms of the promissory notes.
“This is the most important night in Irish history since the decision to guarantee the banks in September, 2008” said one Minister.
However, when the Dáil met at 10.30pm Government chief whip sought an adjournment until 11 pm and that was agreed by the House. At the resumption of the debate at 11pm Fianna Fáil party leader Micheál Martin called for an adjournment in the debate to allow deputies to read the legislation. Taoiseach Enda Kenny agreed to postpone the Dáil until midnight.
Mr Martin said the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Bill was being put before the House, without anyone on the opposition benches having read it.
"There is something fundamentally wrong in asking TDs to pass something that they had not read, for even 10 minutes," he said, calling for an adjournment for a basic reading of the Bill.
Mr Martin said he was not questioning the bona fides of the Minister for Finance but the Bill would have a grave impact on individuals and it was unacceptable to ram this through without any consideration in terms of the detail of the Bill.
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said they had been promised a new way doing business and this was probably one of the most important bills to go through the Dáil.
"The Government would either get a write down of debt or were going to saddle our children, our grandchildren with the debt forever more," he said.
He called on the Government not to commit the same sin it had accused its predecessors of doing in ramming through legislation.
United Left Alliance TD Richard Boyd Barrett said the State was bankrupted because of decisions made in the early hours of the morning.
"We are talking about a Bill dealing with assets worth about 40 billion," he said.
"Finance spokespeople were briefed on the Bill for about 15 minutes," he said and "you are seriously suggesting we can make an informed decision?".
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Bill had been planned for quite some time and the Cabinet met last night to approve it. "This Bill gives legal certainty to the protection of these assets for the State and for our people," he said.
President Higgins returned from a visit to Rome on the Government jet earlier tonight to be in a position to sign the bill into law once it was passed both both Houses.