Enda Kenny defends sale of government's AIB shareholding

Enda Kenny defends sale of government's AIB shareholding

Update 3.27pm:Enda Kenny has defended the proposed sale of shares in AIB saying it was good to eliminate some of the debts incurred by bailing out the bank in 2011

The Taoiseach was speaking during his last Leader's Questions in the Dail.

Earlier: The Finance Minister is under fire over his decision to press ahead with selling off a quarter of AIB shares.

He has announced that shares will begin sale in mid-June, with plans to sell around 25% of the shares, still leaving the State with a major shareholding.

The Labour leader Brendan Howlin says Michael Noonan is "flouting the will of the Dáil", which recently passed a motion calling for the sale to be stalled.

Deputy Howlin wanted the expected €3bn proceeds to be spent on hospitals and transport.

The Government says EU regulations mean it must use the money to pay down the national debt.

Economist Paul Sweeney from think tank TASC disagrees.

"The EU itself published a report a number of years ago arguing that there is flexibility in the stability and growth pact.

"I myself have talked to various officials in Europe and they say there's plenty of flexibility," he said.

Enda Kenny defends sale of government's AIB shareholding


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