Micheál Martin stands over bank bailout claim

ireland
Micheál Martin Stands Over Bank Bailout Claim
The Taoiseach stood over his claim that the banks were not bailed out after the financial crash.
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Digital Desk Staff

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has stood over his claim that “the banks were not bailed out”.

The claim caused some controversy as Mr Martin said the fact that shareholders lost their investments in the economic crash meant that it did not amount to a Government bailout.

The issue came up in the Dáil yesterday when People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett criticised the Government for the issues Debenhams workers are having in trying to secure redundancy payments, saying that Fianna Fáil had no problem in bailing out banks in a €64 million payment after the financial crash.

Mr Martin said: “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 is a fact.”

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On Wednesday night, a spokeswoman for Mr Martin told The Irish Times it was “clearly not the case” that bank owners and shareholders were bailed out.

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His spokeswoman said: “The Taoiseach was responding in a debate to insinuations that the owners and shareholders in banks were bailed out by the taxpayer.

“As he stated, this was clearly not the case. Many shareholders lost everything or nearly everything.

“The State injected equity into the banks so the banking system could continue to function to protect jobs and support economic recovery.”

Speaking today, Mr Boyd Barrett said: “They [the banks] were very definitely bailed out and at an absolutely enormous cost, a decade-long austerity cost imposed upon working people in this country.

“It's a cost which we're still paying because that was also money diverted away from building public housing and away from employing enough people in the health service.”

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