For anyone who was not tied to a whip, and wanted to act in the best interest of the Country, last night’s decision was a difficult one. Who was right or who was wrong, the honest answer is we don’t know, and won’t know until the Government has played its full hand over the next 6 months.
All of the independent commentators that I heard from last night and this morning believe that it is a risky strategy but that if the Government pull it off, it is the best possible deal available. In fact many believed up until yesterday’s leak that such a deal would not even be contemplated by the ECB. So there may be some brinkmanship, but if it benefits the hard pressed public is it not worth it? If such an approach had been taken by the previous Government, would we not be better off today?
I have serious reservations about the manner with which this was presented to the Dáil last night. Even though the Government was “bounced” into it, and even if the law had to be in place before the opening of the markets this morning, I think the Government should have provided for a broader debate on the law and the issues surrounding it.
Because of this I opposed the passage of Second Stage of the Bill and would have opposed a vote on Committee Stage, had there been time for one, on the same basis. But on the law itself, do I disagree with the liquidation of Anglo Irish Bank? No, and neither does the vast majority of the public.
Could I stand by and allow the State and ultimately hard pressed families run the risk this morning of having €12,000m in assets undermined? No.
Did I like having a gun put to my head? No. But it’s about time that the ECB took some of its own medicine!
Will they flinch first? I don’t know, but it is a better strategy than doing nothing and it is a better strategy than defaulting on the promissory note if it undermines our position on the negotiations regarding our overall debt, which is far more important for the future of our citizens in the long term.
Yes, it is but many of us have been frustrated by what has been seen as a failure by the Government to play hard ball with the ECB. When they do so, we cannot tie one hand behind their backs.
Was the decision last night the correct one?
We don’t know. That will depend firstly on the result of the negotiations with the ECB on the Anglo debt and secondly on the results of a deal with the European Council on our overall debt burden later this year.
That is why, reluctantly, I supported the passage of the law to liquidate Anglo Irish Bank at 3am this morning.