Gilmore rules out AIB intervention


TÁNAISTE EAMON Gilmore ruled out Government intervention in commercial decisions being made by Allied Irish Banks.

He was replying to Shane Ross (Ind) who accused the Government of allowing the bank, which it effectively owned, to add to debt by putting up mortgages for those who could not afford them.

Mr Gilmore replied: “With regard to commercial decisions made by AIB, the deputy would be the first to criticise the Government if it sought to engage in hands-on decision-making in the banks.”

He said the Government was “firmly on the side of people who are having difficulty meeting their mortgage payments and that is why we have taken the steps we have taken and will continue to do so”.

Mr Ross said he would be the first to say that the Government should intervene on a day-to-day basis on decisions of that sort.

“The Government owns it and it has two directors on the bank’s boards,” he added.

“I do not know what they are there for if they are not there to have an input into policy decisions.”

Mr Ross said AIB had “a disgraceful record as regards mortgages and it has brought the country to its knees”.

The people who were there then were still there.

“Appointments of the old cronies are still being made to the board and the old people are resurfacing,” he added.

Mr Ross asked if Mr Gilmore was aware that a large number of the bank’s mortgages had been securitised and sold off in bundles to other institutions outside the jurisdiction.

Mr Gilmore said Mr Ross did not have a particularly good track record on the matter.

“I will also not come into the House to defend the practices of banks, now or in the past,” he added.