Who said what on paying back Anglo’s junior bondholders?

Government says creditors to be paid in full from the proceeds of the bank’s liquidation

Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive Seán  FitzPatrick

Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive Seán FitzPatrick

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Health Simon Harris are among the Government ministers who have previously said they did not believe junior bondholders in the former Anglo Irish bank should be paid.

Minister for Transport Shane Ross was adamant that no payments should be made at all to the investors.

The Government has announcedthat junior bondholders in Anglo would be paid in full from the proceeds of the bank’s liquidation, including investors who had bought the bonds at deeply discounted prices.

The former Anglo Irish Bank, which was merged with Irish Nationwide Building Society and renamed the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, was liquidated in 2013. Taxpayers committed €34.7 billion in total, with the prospect of little if any recovery.

Back in 2014, then taoiseach Enda Kenny said he did “not see any circumstances - any circumstances - in which junior bondholders would be paid in the liquidation of IBRC.”

His comments were echoed by Mr Varadkar, Mr Harris and Mr Donohoe, who said that the junior bondholders were “so low down the pecking order I don’t believe they will be paid.”

Mr Varadkar said they would be “at the bottom of the pile”.

Mr Ross however, was uncompromising. Demanding that the Government firmly rule out bondholder repayment, Mr Ross told Morning Ireland: “It’s absolutely unacceptable that junior bondholders should be paid at all.”

Expected to be burnt

In a Dáil debate in November 2013 Mr Ross said: “I met a large number of fund managers, some of whom were bond holders, and they could not believe it. This was a sucker nation. They expected to be burnt. They expected us not to pay it back and they would not have given a hoot about it.

“Instead of listening to the people of Ireland and instead of adhering to what the fund managers expected, we listened to Mr Trichet . . . The capitalist markets understand that this is how things work but for some reason this and the last Government refused even to go to them and eyeball them and say they were not paying this or that they were not paying some of it.

“That was the wrong attitude. The markets would have understood and the bondholders would have expected to have been burnt. It was an appalling decision for several reasons. That is why left and right and centre, and market-led people, are united on that today,” Mr Ross said.

In the same debate Mr Ross said creditors forgive countries which default very fast. “Creditors forgave Russia and Iceland very fast . . . Iceland and Russia, after defaulting, were back into the money markets very fast.”

Asked on Wednesday if Mr Ross now agreed with the decision to repay the Anglo bondholders, a spokeswoman for the Minister for Transport did not comment.