“We did it for the euro”, former Foreign Minister Micheál Martin admitted today regarding the infamous blanket bank guarantee of 30 September 2008 which shifted the debt of insolvent private Irish banks on to Irish taxpayers.
Now leader of the Fianna Fail Party, which lost three-quarters of its parliamentary seats in last year’s general election, Mr Martin told the Evening Herald newspaper for the first time in an exclusive interview that Irish taxpayers were left with a €34 billion bill for basketcase Anglo-Irish Bank because the Irish Government felt under pressure to save the euro-currency.
“Before any European facilities were established we ended up having to carry the burden on Anglo, and our taxpayers did. We believe that this is unfair in the sense that there was no European facility at the time and we did it to prevent contagion across the Eurozone.
“We did it for the euro and I think the Eurozone countries owe Ireland a review of this, either some write-down of that debt or a dramatic restricting that would lessen its impact.”
“We do have to get a better deal on that”, he said, but I do not believe that we should use this treaty to leverage that”, he said, referring to next Thursday’s Irish constitutional referendum on the Fiscal Compact Treaty.
“Given how grave thinga are in Ireland, the last thing we want to do is to add to the uncertainty or the shakiness around. There is no point in Ireland pushing, helping to push Europe over the edge. In terms of the European crisis, we’re coming to the end game,” he said.
The Evening Herald comments in an editorial under the heading: ”Martin claim on bailout is shocking”
“The claim that the 2008 bank bailout was engineered to save the euro will shock many. Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, a member of the Cabinet at the time of the bank guarantee, has told the Herald bluntly:’We did it for the euro…we did it to prevent contagion across the Eurozone.’
“This differs from the then Government’s reason for the guarantee. At the time it stated that the guarantee was in tbe interest of the stability of the Irish economy and in the interest of the Irish taxpayer.
“If what Mr Martin says is true, it suggests that the taxpayer here was handed a multi-million euro bill in a fuitless attempt to shield other EU countries from financial disaster.
“Martin claims that Europe now ‘owes’Ireland as a result.
“But could the bailout, or its scale, have been avoided if the previous Government held out for European reserve funds at the time?”