Cantillon: Years to wait for end of Anglo nightmare

We have ardent promises that no payments will be made to undeserving holders

Patrick Honohan: the pretext for all this is correspondence to the Department of Finance from outgoing Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan in which the professor says the “moral case” for ensuring surplus money from the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation liquidation returns to taxpayer is almost unassailable

Patrick Honohan: the pretext for all this is correspondence to the Department of Finance from outgoing Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan in which the professor says the “moral case” for ensuring surplus money from the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation liquidation returns to taxpayer is almost unassailable

 

Renewed talk of the dreaded Anglo Irish Bank bondholders – be they of senior or junior status – is like awakening with a scream from a recurring nightmare. You thought it was all forgotten but it’s not.

Yet again, therefore, we have ardent Government promises that no payments will be made to undeserving holders of Anglo’s junior notes.

The pretext for all this is correspondence to the Department of Finance from outgoing Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan in which the professor says the “moral case” for ensuring surplus money from the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation liquidation returns to taxpayer is almost unassailable.

And so say all of us, except that the legal case might prove all too assailable.

The good news – for the Government at least – is that this is a battle it probably won’t have to fight before the election. The deferral until January of the Quinn family case against IBRC, formerly Anglo, means there’s no conclusion in sight to this prolonged and bitter dispute.

IBRC’s final accounts can’t be drawn up until this particular matter is put to rest, so it won’t be possible for a good while yet to count any surplus cash available for distribution to creditors. Only then will the junior bond question rear its drastic head in earnest.

No wonder Minister for Finance Michael Noonan says there could be another two, three or four years in this yet. He also points out that there may not be enough money in the pot anyway .

Given other ongoing ructions over IBRC, the bank’s junior bonds are the least of Noonan’s worries right now. Still, the very notion of another Anglo bondholder taking another cent home is enough to the sour the mood. It was a bad old business, all that.