Taoiseach's speech on agreement with the ECB
Taoiseach Enda Kenny announces a deal has been agreed with the European Central Bank on the Anglo promissory notes.
I wish to make an important announcement for the information of the House.
The Government has met in the last hour to consider a proposal from the Minister for Finance to once and for all remove the Promissory Notes relating to the former Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society. This proposal follows the conclusion of discussions between the European Central Bank and the Irish Government.
When Fine Gael and Labour formed a new Government in 2011, we promised to renegotiate the bail-out programme inherited from the previous Government to secure a fairer and more affordable solution to our banking and sovereign debt crises.
In particular, we committed to replacing short-term, emergency Central Bank lending secured against the Promissory Notes used by the previous Government to bail-out the worst Irish banks with longer-term, more affordable financing that reduces the burden on Irish taxpayers and restores confidence among other potential investors in Ireland.
The Promissory Notes represent, in this Government’s view, a highly onerous and unfair legacy of the banking crisis.
Under this Promissory Note arrangement put in place by the previous Government, Irish taxpayers due to pay €3.1 billion next March and every March until 2023, and declining payments until 2031, to cover the massive private losses of Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide.
Including interest costs, the lifetime cost of the Promissory Note would have been almost €48 billion.
I am pleased to announce that today that Ireland has reached a conclusion to its discussions with the European Central Bank that delivers on our commitment to put in place a fairer and more sustainable arrangement. This is the outcome.
The liquidation of the Irish Bank Resolution Company, as legislated for by the Oireachtas this morning. The remnants of Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide – stains on our international reputations and dents to our national pride – have now been removed from the financial and political landscape. Their closure bookends a tragic chapter in our country’s history.
The annual Promissory Notes payments are gone. The liquidation this morning caused the Central Bank to assume full ownership of the €25 billion in Promissory Notes and other collateral held as security for the funds provided by the Central Bank to the IBRC.
Under the agreement reached today with the European Central Bank, the Promissory Notes are being exchanged for long term Irish Government bonds with maturities of up to 40 years.
The first principal payment will not now be made until 2038 and the last payment will be made in 2053. The average maturity of the Government bonds will be over 34 years as opposed to the 7 to 8 year average maturity on the Promissory Notes. In effect, we have replaced a short-term, high interest rate overdraft that had to be paid down quickly through more expensive borrowings, with long-term, cheap, interest-only loans.