THE Government needs to lay out a timetable immediately for winding down Anglo Irish Bank to end the damaging uncertainty on the issue, Labour has said.
Party leader Eamon Gilmore said the lack of certainty over the bank’s future – and its final cost to taxpayers – was scaring the money markets and driving up Ireland’s borrowing costs.
“What’s really killing us at the moment is the sense that there’s no end to this,” he said, pointing out that estimates of the final bill to the state for the Anglo bailout were already ranging between €25 billion and €35bn.
He said the bank should be wound down within the next five to six years and the Government should lay out such a timetable to restore confidence.
He accused the Government of causing a large part of the uncertainty by repeatedly changing its position on the banks since the guarantee scheme was announced two years ago.
Back then, he said, the Government had insisted the guarantee scheme would not end up costing the taxpayers money. It had then said it would recapitalise instead of nationalising the banks, only to proceed later to nationalise Anglo.
Now it appeared the Government was “coming around” to the view Anglo would have to be wound down, something the Opposition had been seeking for months.
Mr Gilmore was speaking at the launch of a Labour plan to “transform sport in Ireland”.
Among other things, the plan proposes to make physical education an examinable subject in the Leaving Certificate. It also proposes that future spending on sports facilities would be guided by an audit which identified the parts of the country most in need of such facilities.
Meanwhile, Mr Gilmore once again stressed that Labour would not enter coalition with Fianna Fáil after the next election.
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