A MOTION PUT forward by the Dáil Technical Group, which called on the Government to ask the European Central Bank and European Commission for a debt writedown, has been defeated.
After a 90 minute debate in the Dáil this evening, the Government made an amendment so that a Yes vote represented a rejection of the motion. The vote on this was carried by 77 votes to 40 and the original motion therefore defeated.
The motion, signed by many of the Technical Group and three independent TDs, called on the coalition to lobby the ECB to allow the State to “destroy” the bonds issued as part of the deal to abolish the promissory note earlier year.
The second night of debate was opened by Sinn Féin TD Sandra McLellan who’s party was also supporting the motion. McLellan said that the previous Government’s mismanagement of the economy “does not allow this current Government off the hook.”
“It was they who took the foolish and short sighted decision in February to turn the remainder of those remaining promissory notes in to Sovereign Bonds,” she said.
Independent TD Shane Ross speaking during tonight’s debate. (Pic: Oireachtas.ie/Screenshot)
Fine Gael’s James Bannon used his platform during the debate to call for the Government to ensure that the bank executives who he said “bankrupt this state” be prosecuted. “White collar crime among bankers and politicians has impacted on every person in the country. They should not be perceived to be above the law,” he said.
“I personally do not feel that everyday people should have to pay the gambling debts of bankers but the Minister knows the best way to get us successfully on the bond markets and I won’t question his judgement, ” he concluded in opposition to the motion.
A group of supporters and protesters gathered outside Leinster House during the course of the Dáil debate. Some holding placards had earlier interrupted an interview during the six o’clock news on RTÉ.
Independent TD Stephen Donnelly who supported the Technical Group’s motion echoed the words of his colleagues in the yesterday’s debate in paying tribute to the Ballyhea Says No group who have campaigned consistently on this issue.
Donnelly said that the group have met with members of the ECB and told them that under the new eurozone banking rules the Irish sovereign state would not have to take on the debts of banking institutions:
They explained that no other European nation is being asked to bear the burden like the Irish nation. They asked if the European commission and the ECB would consider changing the rules on monetary financing once. The officials sympathized with the Irish people but they also said that they could only respond to such a request from the Irish government and no such request had ever been made.
This motion put forward by the technical group simply called on the Irish government to make such a request Donnelly said. This was echoed by Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins who said that this was this “mildest of motions” as “it simply asks Govenment to make a request of the ECB”