Bank guarantee 'only decision possible'
FIANNA FÁIL health spokesman Billy Kelleher has expressed regret if the former government’s decision to introduce the bank guarantee was considered the wrong one.
During a two-day Dáil debate on the economy, he said “I genuinely regret if the decision we made in government was the wrong one and we burdened the Irish people and the generations to come with debt that was unnecessary”. However “the bottom line is that at the time it was the only decision possible”.
The parameters of the guarantee could be debated by historians “but we had to deal with the position at that time”.
The Cork North Central TD said Fine Gael supported the blanket bank guarantee as well as Fianna Fáil, the Greens and Sinn Féin “with the right intentions”.
Recalling the night of the bank guarantee in 2008, he said they were told “quite clearly” that banks would close the following day if a guarantee was not in place.
“If we had followed other parties’ lines, we may not have had the massive debts placed on the Irish people but we would have had significant dislocation of society the following day. ATM machines would have had no money and cheques and salaries would not have been able to be paid.”
Government and other Opposition TDs repeatedly criticised Fianna Fáil’s role in power.
Labour TD Michael Conaghan said “nobody would lend us money, apart from the troika which had been called in under cover of darkness” by the Fianna Fáil administration.
“The Government has gone to great lengths to restore and rebuild confidence in our nation,” the Dublin South Central TD said.
“The image of the Taoiseach on the front page of Time magazine and the associated article, The Celtic Comeback, is not to be laughed at; it is in stark contrast to images of his predecessor.”
However, Sinn Féin’s Aengus Ó Snodaigh criticised the impact of Government policies and pointed to unemployment levels increasing in the last year from 14.1 per cent to 14.8 per cent.
Minister of State for Finance Brian Hayes called on all Opposition parties to put in specific proposals in their pre-budget submissions. When Mr Ó Snodaigh said they put them in every year, he replied “they must be credible”.