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Technical Group to force Dáil vote on promissory note repayment

15 TDs, led by Shane Ross, have tabled a motion calling for a public assertion that Ireland won’t make the next repayment.

Shane Ross has tabled a motion demanding that the Irish government not make the next repayment on the Anglo Irish Bank promissory notes.
Shane Ross has tabled a motion demanding that the Irish government not make the next repayment on the Anglo Irish Bank promissory notes.
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE GOVERNMENT will be forced into a Dáil vote next week on whether to make next month’s €3.06 billion repayment of the IBRC promissory notes.

The technical group, led by Shane Ross, has tabled a motion calling on the government to make “a public declaration” that it will not repay the €3.06 billion that it is due to pay to the Central Bank of Ireland, via the former Anglo Irish Bank, in 58 days’ time.

The motion calls for an assertion that the debt is “not the moral obligation of the Irish people”, and demands that the repayment not be made “in view of the imminent danger of Ireland’s humiliation in the negotiations with the European Central Bank” over the restructuring of the notes.

The motion also calls on the government to demand a “negotiated write-down of the debt” with the ECB, “embracing fair sharing of the burden across the Eurozone” before the promissory note issue can be settled on a long-term basis.

While the motion is not likely to be voted on in its current format – with the government likely to propose a counter-motion instead – the move means Fine Gael and Labour TDs will nonetheless have to vote on whether to replace the Technical Group’s motion with their own version, which is tantamount to a proxy vote on the original.

The motion will be debated on Tuesday and Wednesday evening, with a vote on Wednesday night – only hours before the ECB’s governing council meets in Frankfurt where the promissory note issue will likely be discussed.

Thursday’s ECB meeting is one of only four where the bank’s governors – including Patrick Honohan, the governor of the Central Bank of Ireland – can approve any Irish proposal to replace the promissory note with some other sort of long-term funding.

The Government has sought to replace the promissory note with a long-term sovereign bond, turning the banking debt into sovereign debt – but with the upside that the repayments can be spread out over a longer period, meaning a smaller hit to the taxpayer on each occasion where a repayment is due.

Read: Joan Burton: “Promissory note deal? The EU needs a success story”

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Gavan Reilly

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