Taxpayer should not pay cost of bonds, says Burton


IRISH TAXPAYERS should not have to bear the entire €750 million cost of bonds taken out in Anglo Irish Bank four years ago, Labour’s finance spokeswoman Joan Burton has said.

She said the bondholders would get the full amount back today: “They will not have to take any share of the burden of the losses in Anglo-Irish Bank.”

The Labour deputy leader said: “The cost of this debt will be borne entirely by Irish taxpayers.”

The sum of €750 million was “pretty close to the total of all of the welfare cuts in the recent Budget”.

The bonds in question were no longer covered by guarantee as of the end of last September, she added.

“This is precisely one of the matters which is going to have to be engaged in by a new government,” she said.

Ms Burton was one of a group of Labour Party activists who picketed the Anglo Irish Bank offices in St Stephen’s Green, Dublin, yesterday with placards spelling out the figure of €750 million.

Asked to comment on sharp criticisms of TV3 broadcaster Vincent Browne which were attributed to her in a Sunday newspaper, Deputy Burton said: “I’m me, Vincent is Vincent and I think he has always got a particular style and he is Vincent.”

Pressed on the issue, she said: “He is a very distinguished journalist. It is very important that we have reasoned debate and that, when journalists who are leading programmes ask questions, that there is a reasoned debate and an opportunity to answer serious questions.”

Mr Browne said last night he was “surprised” at Deputy Burton’s comments as reported in the Irish Mail on Sunday.