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Tánaiste: 'There was a bailout of the banks 12 years ago'

There have been calls for the Taoiseach to correct the Dáil record over his statements.

Image: Oireachtas.ie

TÁNAISTE LEO VARADKAR has told the Dáil that the Irish bailout of the banks did happen, stating that the Taoiseach misspoke yesterday.

“There was a bailout of the banks 12 years ago and the Taoiseach misspoke yesterday. He’s said that already this morning,” he said.

Varadkar said the Taoiseach did correct himself in the Dáil, adding that what Martin meant to say was the shareholders were not bailed out. 

Labour’s Brendan Howlin has said the Taoiseach should correct the Dáil record over comments he made yesterday about the bank bailout. 

Micheál Martin told the chamber in the Convention Centre that the government’s recapitalisation of banks during the financial crisis was not a bailout, saying: 

I’ll talk to you about the banks. The banks were not bailed out. Shareholders in the banks were not bailed out; the State took equity. The shareholders were not bailed out. That’s not a popular thing to say, but it’s the facts.

Howlin told RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne that the comments were “bizarre” and represented “alternative facts.”  

“You can’t reinvent history,” he said, adding:

“By any plain understanding of English the Irish people bailed out the banks in 2008. The then Minister of Finance, Brian Lenihan, with the agreement of the Government gave an unconditional guarantee to the liabilities of failed banks, without actually knowing at the time the full cost of that.”

The time of the bank bailout was a “painful” chapter in the State’s history, he said.

He called on the Taoiseach to correct the Dáil record. 

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“Technically those who actually bought shareholdings in the six covered institutions were burned as well, they lost the shareholding and suffered grievously.

“And so, if you like, if you want to look at that technical issue to the owners of the banks, where they are bailed out?

“No. But were the banks themselves, the institutions bailed out with a wall of money? In any objective economic sense, of course that’s exactly what happened,” he said.

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