The IMF and the banks


Sir, – The headline “IMF says Ireland should reduce bank stakes” (June 28th) shows that the ideologues in the IMF are on their old high horse of “privatise, privatise”.They demonstrate a lack of understanding of what a balance sheet is. You report that “the Government needed to accelerate its balance sheet repair. As market conditions allow, downsizing the State’s various stakes in the banking system should be prioritised, according to the IMF.”

Whether the Government privatises the banks or retains its shares, it will still have assets either way. Surely the IMF directors must know this? In fact, if the shares rise, we taxpayers will gain on the upside.

The State owns almost 75 per cent of Permanent TSB, about 71 per cent of AIB, and just under 14 per cent of Bank of Ireland, as your reporter notes.

Few of your business reporters ever suggest that the role of banks is far too important in the modern economy to be left in the hands of a small elite which already collapsed all of them. They destroyed value on an unprecedented level and endangered the existence of this State. Do they or the IMF bosses or our governments ever learn from history or are they simply ideologically blind? – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6.