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Kenny says 'we'll pay our dues' a year after Varadkar said 'not another cent'

A year ago today Leo Varadkar said that not another red cent would be paid to the banks. Today, the Taoiseach has insisted we will not seek to impose any losses on bondholders.

Leo Varadkar during the press conference in which he made his now infamous comments about Ireland's banks.
Leo Varadkar during the press conference in which he made his now infamous comments about Ireland's banks.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

EXACTLY A YEAR on from Leo Varadkar’s now infamous “not another cent” comments during the general election, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has restated that Ireland will not impose losses on bondholders.

Kenny has told Bloomberg television that Ireland will not seek any write-down on its debt and will not impose losses on bondholders.

“We’ll pay our dues in full and on time,” he told ‘In Business with Margaret Brennan’ in an interview recorded yesterday. He also said that Ireland still intended to get better terms on the promissory notes or IOUs to the now-defunct Anglo Irish Bank.

His comments are in stark contrast to those of current Transport Minister and Fine Gael party colleague Leo Varadkar during the general election campaign exactly a year ago today.

The then spokesperson for communications famously told a press conference outlining the party’s plans to halt emigration of young people that “the banks aren’t getting another cent”.

“All I can say to the Irish people – some of whom may be watching tonight – is that if things go our way there will be a new government in six weeks time and the banks aren’t getting another cent,” he said at the time.

“Anglo Irish Bank is not getting another cent of our money and any bank coming to us looking for more money is going to have to show how they’re going to impose losses on their junior bondholders, on their senior bondholders and their other creditors before they come looking to us for anymore money. Not another cent.”

Watch:

YouTube: jcrow06

Since the formation of the coalition government, the finance minister Michael Noonan has announced further measures to recapitalise Ireland’s banks to the tune of €24 billion.

While, last month the government repaid a €1.25bn bond that was owed to senior, unsecured bondholders in Anglo Irish – now the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) – amid much criticism and calls for the government to default on the payment.

Fianna Fáil – who in government introduced the full bank guarantee – has claimed that the video of the infamous press conference has been removed from the Fine Gael website.

“Last month, as Minister Varadkar and his colleagues abandoned their promise and repaid the bonds in full, those who ignored him and bought the bonds cheaply made a killing, doubling their money,” Senator Darragh O’Brien said.

The government has said that it is seeking to reduce the amount it needs to pay IBRC in promissory notes that were made to Anglo by the previous administration.

Currently, the State will have to raise about €3 billion annually to pay down the notes for the next 15 years. The availability of different lending facilities could reduce the burden with the government hoping for some concessions from the European Central Bank.

InBusiness with Margaret Brennan can be seen on Bloomberg Television from 4pm today

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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