THE DECISION BY Rabobank to hand back the banking licence for ACC Bank represents an opportunity for a state investment bank network.
That is the opinion of SIPTU leader Jack O’Connor, who said that the branch network of ACC could be used to establish the state’s investment arm.
“The creation of the strategic investment fund by the Government is welcome but this can only be seen as a first step to creating the financial infrastructure necessary to support Irish industry.
The decision by Rabobank to hand back the ACC banking licence provides a real opportunity to marry the strategic investment fund with the ACC banking network in order to establish a badly needed State Investment Bank.
O’Connor said that the banking sector in Ireland had a “pathetic” track record in lending to productive enterprises and called the 2003 privatisation of both ACC and ICC a “disaster”.
“[The banking industry] was more interested in gambling and speculating in property during the boom years and it has not proven itself any more capable of supporting productive business in the post-boom period.
“ACC and ICC had proven track records of supporting Irish agriculture and industry over several decades. Our recovery is intrinsically linked to our ability to increase economic sovereignty. We need as a country to begin taking back control of our economy. A huge step forward in this direction would be the creation of a State Investment Bank focused entirely on supporting domestic enterprise.”
O’Connor’s colleague Adrian Kane said that the laid-off workers could be employed in the state investment bank.