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Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin
Promissory notes

Bonds: Fianna Fáil's 'qualified welcome', Sinn Féin says it will cost people €14,000

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty said there will be €1 billion of interest on the bonds every year.

FIANNA FÁIL HAS given a ‘qualified welcome’ to the news that the promissory notes have been replaced by Irish government bonds following discussions with the European Central Bank.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin was the first of the opposition members to speak, following Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s announcement in the Dáil, saying that his party would welcome any easing of the country’s debt position.

He said that from the Taoiseach’s speech, it would appear the replacement of the promissory notes from IBRC with new Government bonds will improve the cashflow situation and will facilitate the exit from the bailout programme.

However, he said that “what the government is claiming for the deal cannot be taken at face value”, and that “we all knew a deal was going to happen and the Government was going to take credit for it”.

Deputy Martin asked the Taoiseach to clarify what difference the deal will make to the overall government debt, and how long will the European Central Bank permit the Irish Central Bank to hold the bonds. He also questioned if funds will be freed up for much-needed capital investment in the economy.

“Was this the best deal that was possible?” he asked. “Can this deal ever again be revisited or is it the definitive conclusion?”

“Our welcome is very much a qualified welcome,” said Martin. “We are awaiting more detailed analysis. Any alleviation of the Irish debt situation is welcome and we support that.”

Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty questioned whether the Irish people are “supposed to jump up with joy at the fact it is a long term bond”, and if it is fair for people who are children today to be landed with this burden.

He said there will be €1 billion in interest on the bonds every year for at least 25 years, and every person in Ireland will pay €14,000 as a result of this deal.

Doherty said the government “turned a €28 billion promissory note, the cost of Anglo Irish bank, that toxic debt, into a €64 billion sovereign liability to this State”.

Doherty said that he believed “this is not a deal the Irish people were waiting for”. “What we wanted was a debt write-down,” he continued.

How can you present this as a fair deal when you have increased the overall mountain of debt on people?
This was the time to stand up to the ECB and say we cannot pay these debts [now].

He concluded:

Shame on you Minister, shame on you Taoiseach, shame on you Tánaiste. This was not the mandate that you were given.

Technical Group

Deputy Mattie McGrath of the Technical Group also criticised the news, saying that “this clearly is not a deal”. He accused the government of “just kicking the can down the road”, and asked “why didn’t you act on the mandate you were given two years ago?”

McGrath said he himself had made a big mistake in voting for the banking guarantee, and also questioned what impact the deal will have on the ordinary working person.

“The grin will be gone off your faces when you meet your constituents,” he told Fine Gael and Labour. “It’s not a deal, it’s a cop-out, Taoiseach.”

Read: In full: ‘The annual promissory note payments are gone’ – Enda Kenny>

LIVE: Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin on promissory note deal>

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