Thu, 17 Dec, 2020 – 06:30
Taoiseach Micheál Martin referenced the bank bailout some 57 times in the Dáil before his “bizarre” claim that the Irish banks “were not bailed out” yesterday.
The Taoiseach was accused of seeking to re-write history and “denying reality” in making his claim that the banks did not receive a €64bn bailout.
In the Dáil, he said: “The banks were not bailed out. Shareholders in the banks were not bailed out” and instead “the State took equity”.
“That is not a popular thing to say, but it is a fact,” he said.
The comments came after Solidarity-PBP TD Richard Boyd Barrett raised the ongoing Debenhams dispute and claimed the Government could not put money on the table because it would set a precedent but is willing to bail out the banks.
While the Government Press Office did not respond to a query asking for clarification on Mr Martin’s comment, the Taoiseach has referred to bailouts a number of times in Dáil speeches.
In total, according to the KildareStreet.ie website, Mr Martin has used the term “bailout” 57 times, all but two of which relate to Ireland’s EU-IMF loans.
In a 2012 parliamentary question to then finance minister Michael Noonan, Mr Martin specifically uses the term “banking bailout”, asking Mr Noonan “if he will outline all of the meetings at which he has asked the European Union for assistance in dealing with Ireland’s banking bailout”.
Previously in an October 2011 debate on EU Summits, Mr Martin pressed then-taoiseach Enda Kenny to fight for a larger EU fund.
“The Taoiseach must insist at the summit that the proposal to restructure Irish bank debt should now be agreed. For the bank and sovereign bailouts to restore confidence, they must be backed up by a dramatically larger fund.”
In a 2015 speech at UCC, he said that the EU had had flaws and that “most of the bailouts, including Ireland’s” wouldn’t have been required had these flaws been addressed.
In a speech to the IIEA, he referenced the “Irish and Portuguese bailouts”.
Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy said it is bizarre that Mícheál Martin would claim that the banks were not bailed out.
“It is also deeply insulting to all those families and communities that endured savage austerity as a result of that bailout. His comments will reinforce the view that Fianna Fáil are out of touch,” he said.