Burton says Fianna Fáil will long be remembered for its 'Black Thursday'


LABOUR’S JOAN Burton described yesterday as “Black Thursday” and said that Brian Lenihan and Fianna Fáil would be remembered for visiting it upon the State.

Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide had always been “at the rotten heart” of Fianna Fáil strategy on the bank guarantee, she claimed. “Fianna Fáil did not care that much about Bank of Ireland, AIB or the other institutions,” she said.

“All it cared about was its crony financial institutions, namely Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide, and the developers to whom they had loaned money.”

She accused “the two Brians”, Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Mr Lenihan, of hoping against hope that somehow or other the country would turn a number of corners and that this would make matters less bad than they appeared.

Sinn Féin’s Arthur Morgan said that his party would be tabling a motion of no confidence in Mr Lenihan.

When the Minister had claimed two years ago that the worst was over, the worst had not even begun, he said. “AIB should have been nationalised two years ago, as advocated by Sinn Féin.’’

Independent Maureen O’Sullivan suggested there “does not seem too much of a connection” between the Dáil and the world outside its doors.

“It appears there is a bottomless pit of money and guarantees when it comes to banks, but when it comes to the needs and lives of Irish people, they are told they must accept the cuts and make the sacrifices; that it is acceptable to lose their homes and jobs; that it is acceptable to lose special needs assistants; and that communities must accept that they will lose those supports that have made such a difference.”

There was a sense, said Ms O’Sullivan, that if the banks failed, it would be the end of the world, but banks had failed in other countries and the countries had survived and improved economically.

“There must be a limit, a bottom line, because the pit is not bottomless.’’

She said that reckless financial and fiscal management were at the core of what was happening in the State.

Independent Joe Behan said he would scrutinise the Government’s four-year plan when it was brought before the Dáil, but he would not, at this point in time, pledge his support for a plan which was not founded on basic principles of social justice.

Independent Finian McGrath said it was important to state that some senior bankers misled and lied to politicians in the Dáil. “As a result of their actions, they contributed towards making the situation worse.” This, said Mr McGrath, was “a crime against our people and the taxpayers and an insult to all elected members of this House”.