Statement by Fine Gael Finance Spokesman Michael Noonan
This is a hugely disappointing result for the country. Its hard to imagine how this deal could have been much worse. People are right to feel frightened, and worried about the future, when our own Government has sold out the country on such lousy terms.
The Government was cleaned out in the negotiations and has not acted in the best interests of Ireland. At the very least we could have expected a low rate of interest on the loans, EU agreement on a jobs and growth package, and agreement to share the cost of rescuing the banks with the bond holders. The Government came away with none of these.
Fianna Fáil has once again sacrificed taxpayers interests in order to bail out the banks.
The interest rate of 5.8% is far too high and verges on the unaffordable. The lack of significant detail on plans to restructure the banks is worrying. A huge chunk of the National Pension Reserve Fund and other domestic funds will be poured into a black hole to recapitalise the banks. This money could have been used to stimulate the economy and provide jobs.
As a sovereign State and a fully paid-up member of the Eurozone, Ireland could have struck a much better bargain. The fact that the EU and ECB have asked us to bail out foreign bond investors who invested foolishly in our banks, with the pension fund money accumulated with difficulty over many years, should have been used as a powerful bargaining chip. It clearly was not.
The pushing out of the deadline to reach the 3% deficit target simply reflects a lack of belief in the Governments growth strategy. Furthermore, Ireland will still have to impose 15 billion worth of cutbacks over the next four years.
It was a Government Minister who first used a poker analogy to describe these negotiations. Well, the Government has been out-bid and out-negotiated at every turn. For some reason the Government decided to play it soft, and allowed the IMF, the EU and the ECB to win hands down.