Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Bill 2013: Second Stage

I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time." I thank the Deputies for their attendance at such short notice and at such a late hour.

As I have consistently informed the House, the Government has been in ongoing discussions with the European Central Bank to reach an agreed position on resolving the promissory note satisfactorily for all sides, namely, the Irish State, the European Central Bank and the eurozone. As many Deputies will have noted from this evening’s media commentary, the ECB is considering a proposal from the Government as part of these ongoing discussions. In the discussions with the ECB it was envisaged that the first step would be the liquidation of IBRC and the sale of its remaining assets to NAMA or other market purchasers.

As soon as the information relating to the proposal to liquidate IBRC was made public earlier today, there was an immediate risk to the bank. Given this position I, as Minister for Finance, took immediate action to secure the stability of the bank and its assets, valued at almost €14 billion, on behalf of the State. To this end, I vested the powers of the board temporarily in an employee of KPMG and a KPMG team is now in control of the bank on my behalf. The Government met earlier this evening and approved this proposed legislation for presentation to the Oireachtas.

Once the legislation is passed, joint special liquidators will be appointed to IBRC with immediate effect to wind up its business and operations. It is intended that the net debt owed by IBRC to the Central Bank and its associated floating charge security will be purchased by NAMA, using NAMA bonds, in a way that ensures there is no capital loss for the Central Bank.

Who will answer the telephones?

I wish to emphasise that the reason these steps are being taken is entirely distinct from the performance or direction of the board or management of the IBRC. It is simply compelling in the larger public interest to now take this action and the Government has made its decision on that basis alone. I wish to acknowledge, with much appreciation, the significant efforts the directors and staff of the IBRC have made to the stabilisation of and maintenance of value in the IBRC. I regret the abruptness of how this decision is communicated to the management and staff but due to the scale, sensitivity and complexity of the economic issues involved, it was necessary in the public interest to keep the matter confidential until now.

Unfortunately, as is common in liquidations, all employee contracts will be terminated on the winding-up of the IBRC. However, it has been indicated to me that the majority of staff will, if they wish, be re-hired for the purposes of an orderly liquidation on such terms and for such duration as may be determined by the special liquidators. Employees will rank, in the normal way, as preferential creditors ahead of the National Asset Management Agency, NAMA, and unsecured creditors in respect of certain amounts owing on a winding-up, including accrued wages, salaries, holiday pay, sick pay, statutory redundancy, pensions contributions and claims for damages arising from accidents. I understand this announcement will come as quite a shock to employees of IBRC and to some of those who do business with the bank and the special liquidators will be instructed to handle that as well as possible in the circumstances.

I would have preferred to be introducing this Bill in tandem with a finalised agreement with the European Central Bank. However, I understand the European Central Bank will continue to consider the proposals made by the Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, with the agreement of the Government, tomorrow. I commend the Bill to the House.

I am glad to have the opportunity to speak on the Irish Banking Resolution Corporation Bill 2013. At the outset, I wish to register a protest and to state Fianna Fáil's objection in the strongest possible terms to the manner in which this matter has been handled. Leaks came out during the day that moves were afoot at the European Central Bank, ECB, with regard to the overall deal on the promissory note and parts of those leaks referred to the winding-up of the IBRC. It is clear from the Minister's statement that the Government has had this issue on the agenda for some time as part of its negotiations with the ECB. That matter presumably was not meant to come into the public domain today and the Minister has now told Members that unless they adopt this Bill immediately, it poses an immediate risk to the bank. The Minister has informed Members of the need to take immediate action to secure the stability of the bank and the value of its assets, which are valued at €12 billion, on behalf of the State. I would have liked the Minister to have gone into much greater detail as to what are those risks because I am sure everyone in this House will agree this is no way to conduct our business. It is clear the Minister plans to appoint a special liquidator early tomorrow morning in an effort to fireproof the bank from claims by others who may wish to prevent the appointment of a liquidator to protect their own commercial vested interests. I assume this is the essence of the argument with which the Minister has come forward tonight. However, I would have expected the Minister to have justified this in far more detail in respect of what precisely are the risks because it is now in the public realm - and has been for most of the day - that the Government intends to liquidate the IBRC. I have not received an adequate explanation from the Minister as to the reason this cannot be done in the normal course of business in this House. Clearly, the Minister's attention was to announce the winding-up of the IBRC as part of the overall package the Government hoped to agree with the ECB but for one reason or another, he has been forced to bring forward all of that.

Unfortunately, leaks have been a common feature of developments in recent weeks.

That will be done by the liquidator.

The Minister should provide clarity on this issue as he has not provided any guarantee. People working in IBRC know their employment with the bank is not permanent. Although the bank was in wind-down mode in any case, its staff certainly did not expect to learn tonight that their employment will be formally terminated as of the passage of this legislation. They deserve a better explanation and more reassurance than the Minister has given in respect of that issue.

The Fianna Fáil Party has gone through the Bill in as much detail as possible in the short time available to us. We received a call after 10 p.m. inviting us to attend a technical briefing on the legislation. The context of the Bill was not explained in respect of the promissory note negotiations which are under way and the Minister expects to conclude tomorrow. Having discussed the Bill in as much detail as possible in the time available to us, I am prepared, on behalf of my party, to take in good faith the Minister's reassurance that not passing it tonight would expose IBRC and, by extension, the State to substantial risk. While I am prepared to accept that in good faith and do not have an objection in principle to IBRC being wound up with immediate effect, I want the Minister to reassure me, my colleagues and every Member of the House that the national interest has been fully protected in respect of the decisions we are making tonight. I am not giving the Minister carte blanche in respect of any deal he may or may not announce in the House tomorrow. While I sincerely hope he announces a deal on the promissory note, my party's support for any such deal cannot be taken for granted.

Last June, the Eurogroup reached an agreement that there should be a complete separation of banking debt from the sovereign. Implementing that agreement should be the objective of the State in all our negotiations with the European Central Bank and of all those who have an interest in this matter.

At about this time last year, we were all asked to come to the Chamber for an important announcement. We were told that the State had cobbled together an agreement that meant that we would not pay the promissory note last year. We were asked to applaud the Government and to take it at face value that a great deal had been achieved on behalf of the Irish taxpayer.

However, as the mist faded and the cobwebs were dusted away and after delving into what occurred at the time, what became clear was that the State repaid the emergency liquidity assistance, ELA, to Anglo Irish Bank or the IBRC. The Central Bank got its money and the European Central Bank, ECB, was satisfied that a certain amount of ELA had been taken out of the system. The difference was that it was done through a convoluted approach. In simple terms, the Minister asked Bank of Ireland for a loan of €3.1 billion, paid Anglo Irish Bank that money and Anglo Irish Bank then paid it to the Central Bank, which disappeared the money.

At this late hour, we are again being asked to take at face value the Government's claim that a deal is in the interests of the State and are being told that not having the time to deal with and read through the legislation does not matter. The briefing that finance spokespersons and other Deputies received was not concluded because we were called back to the Chamber. Certain questions could not be answered at the meeting. We were asked not to ask certain other questions. It is a matter of taking the Government at face value.

Through all of the leaks and spin of recent weeks, particularly in the last number of days and hours, something has become clear - this Government intends to pay every single last cent of the Anglo Irish Bank promissory note, totalling somewhere in the region of €28 billion.

That is a phrase the Deputy used the night he voted for the guarantee.

-----because we are working against the interests of the State. Five years on, another Government of different colours, the blue and the red, come together and they asked us to do exactly the same thing, to take us at face value.

That is rubbish.

The Deputy may say that but I can guarantee him that the majority-----

The Deputy knows for what he voted. He voted for the guarantee.

Deputies, please.

It will never be forgotten.

The majority of their TDs have not read this legislation and, of those who have read it, very few understand its consequences.

The Deputy is only filling in.

He has nothing to say.

Deputies, please.

The Cabinet concluded at 10.10 p.m. and it agreed to bring this legislation to the floor of the House. Is this real political reform? Is this the type of direction we were promised before the last election? None of us knows the full implications of this Bill-----

Talk to the Bill.

-----but what we do know is that the powers contained in it are wide-ranging. We know that this is one of a number of steps the Minister and the Government want to introduce, not to ensure we have a write-down in regard to the promissory note, but to ensure my generation, my children's generation and my children's children generation will pay the debts of bankers and criminals in Anglo Irish Bank for many years into the future-----

The Deputy voted for it. Why did he vote for the guarantee?

Does he remember that?

Deputies, please settle down.

-----and that is the truth. Section 17 allows the Minister, whenever and so often as he or she thinks fit, to create and issue securities. We are asked today to give the Minister, Deputy Noonan, or any future Minister the power to issue long-term bonds in the name of the Irish people. There is nobody in our party who would object to Anglo Irish Bank going into liquidation but it should mean the promissory note is not to be paid out. It should mean the comfort letters that were issued by the previous Minister should not be paid out. I was asked about the default. The head of the Department of Finance and his officials, in briefing us, told us what will happen tomorrow morning when this is signed into law, and it is that the IBRC will default. That is what will happen. When it goes into liquidation IBRC defaults. The Minister needs to talk to his officials. IBRC defaults but what happens is that the State picks up the tab. The State picks up the tab in terms of the promissory note and in terms of the other debts and securities that are contained within this bank.

The Deputy wore the green jersey in the Seanad.

If the Deputy listened for a while he might learn something.

He wore the green jersey.

Deputy McCarthy, would you please refrain from shouting across the Chamber? Allow Deputy Doherty to finish.

I do not need any assistance from the Deputy either.

Our party, Sinn Féin, has been consistent on the issue of the promissory note-----

(Interruptions).

-----and let the record show that in 2011-----

We know what the record will show. It will show that the Deputy voted for the guarantee.

(Interruptions).

Ministers, would you please allow the debate? We have only time for a short debate. Cut out the shouting and let the Deputy finish. He has three minutes remaining.

In 2011, on 31 March, when the Fine Gael and Labour Government issued a €3.1 billion cheque to Anglo Irish Bank, the only voices in this Chamber to raise the issue were Sinn Féin voices.

The Deputy is forgetting about the Independents.

The first vote and the only vote, before today, on the issue of the promissory note was a Sinn Féin motion that was debated over two days. Indeed, there was not even a vote in this Chamber when the Fianna Fáil Government, and Deputy Micheál Martin sat at the Cabinet table and not once but more than once, approved the issuing of the promissory note-----

Deputy Doherty should leave poor Deputy Martin alone. He has been rehabilitated. He should leave him alone - he is a nice guy.

-----but not once was a vote taken in the Dáil. It was Sinn Féin that put this issue on the agenda.

Deputy Rabbitte will be rehabilitated shortly.

I think Deputy Noonan terminated Deputy Rabbitte last week when he gave him the back-hander.

(Interruptions).

Please proceed Deputy Doherty.

There is a need for serious factual information to be put on the record by the Minister.

There is a need for factual information from Deputy Doherty.

(Interruptions).

With respect, Deputies, we have been given 15 minutes to speak. The Government Deputies have voted to guillotine this legislation. I ask them to afford me the opportunity ---

The Deputy voted for it in the Seanad. He donned the green jersey. He is a hypocrite.

The Deputy should go back to the bar.

(Interruptions).

How many interruptions are there going to be in this debate?

This is the last time I am going ask Deputies to stop shouting. The next time, they will be going out that door, or that door, whichever one they prefer and I mean it.

This House, every Deputy in it and the public at home deserve to know what is going on. We are looking at live blogs on RTE, following Bloomberg and Reuters, getting leaks from the ECB and the Department of Finance. We are told that bonds will be issued over a 27 year maturity. We are told that assets will go to NAMA. We are told that powers will be devolved here and there. We are told that the ECB was supposed to agree this deal at dinner time. The Minister still has not stood up and said what this means. Will this mean an easier budget for the people of this State next year? We asked the troika last week if we were to receive a deal on our banking debt and if the promissory note was not to be paid out, whether that would mean a reduction in the adjustment that had to be made. The troika indicated that it would reclassify it and look on it as a windfall and that any savings that could be made would be used to write down debt. I hope that is not the case but that is what the troika led the Sinn Féin delegation to believe.

There is an onus on the Minister to spell out to people who have suffered for far too long through his policies of austerity what this legislation means. He must tell them in black and white terms whether he expects them, their children and their children's children to pay off the debts of Anglo Irish Bank and the IBRC or whether he is going to stand up for Irish interests and call on the ECB to allow a write-down of this debt. This legislation is a precursor to having future generations of children pay a debt that is not theirs. It is for those reasons that Sinn Féin will not be in a position to support this legislation.

I call Deputy Shane Ross. I ask those Deputies who do not want to listen to leave the Chamber before the next speaker begins. Deputy Ross is sharing time with Deputies Richard Boyd Barrett, Joe Higgins and Stephen Donnelly, by agreement.

Many of us in this House are long enough in the Oireachtas to recall late-night sittings of this sort and late-night sittings tend to make bad law. My own memories, and the Taoiseach will remember these as well, are of the bank guarantee, when we had a late-night sitting, which had a poor result. Before that we had the Larry Goodman empire rescued by examinership, which had a poor result. Today, we are having a late-night sitting which, I suggest, will also have a poor result.

It is undoubtedly a humiliation for the Government and for the country that we have been bounced into legislation at a time not of our choosing but of somebody else's.

What were the questions?

That is the situation in which the Bill finds itself being put through the House: civil servants who cannot answer questions about the details of the Bill and a Minister who gives us so little information. To crown it all, the President is flying back from Italy in a hurry to sign the Bill later this evening.

How is the stability of the State's finances threatened by this leak? The Minister said there are very few IBRC depositors left. I do not know the size of those deposits. He did not tell us. It appears that most depositors went to Permanent TSB. There are some large corporate depositors. Is that the important element or is it that once the liquidation was leaked there would be people and parties in court in the morning attempting to frustrate it? Is that the answer? Other court cases are pending. There certainly will be lawyers all over this Bill.

Did Deputy Ross not argue for liquidation last night?

Deputy Ross, you have one minute remaining.

In the minute I have left I will say this. We cannot vote for this Bill if we do not know the other part of the package. That is the problem with the Bill. We are being asked to vote for the liquidation of a bank in isolation when we do not know what tomorrow's part of the package will be.

The Deputy will oppose it anyway. I am sure he has some idea.

What I do know, and what I do not like about the Bill, is section 17 which hints at what we are going to get from the Minister. This is the objectionable part. It gives such wide-ranging powers to the Minister that he can introduce and issue securities for as much as 100 years, so far as I can see, although the ECB will not allow him to go that long. The Bill gives the Minister powers we cannot accept.

I cannot vote in a vacuum for a Bill that does not tell us what will be swapped for the promissory notes.

The Fianna Fáil Government bankrupted the country with a decision taken in the early hours of the morning, we now know under a diktat of the ECB. Tonight, in the same sort of circumstances, the Government is taking a decision about one of the main culprits of the financial crisis and involving vast amounts of money, also under a diktat of the ECB. The ECB says "jump" and the Government says "how high", even when it means trampling on the democracy of the House and the right of citizens to know what the Government, along with its friends in the ECB, is proposing for them.

The suggestion that the Government is ramming through the Bill as a result of an unintended leak is an insult to the intelligence of the House and of the people. During Leaders' Questions on Tuesday last, I suggested that the Government was engaged in an elaborate charade. The Tánaiste was going around Chile talking about the Government collapsing. The Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy White, was talking about the Croke Park deal collapsing, and Ministers were smiling like Cheshire cats, as they still are, and saying there was nothing up.

Alice in Wonderland.

-----when the deal the Government has already planned, just as this legislation was clearly written some time ago, is rammed through to pin Anglo Irish Bank's gambling debts permanently, securely and legally to the backs of the Irish people in such a way that we cannot repudiate them. People are saying this is about giving the Minister powers, but it is not just about that - it is the action that will pin the debt to our backs because we now owe the money to the European Central Bank as a result of this Bill.

It is no coincidence this is being rammed through when the Government knows tens of thousands of people will take to the streets this weekend demanding the Government lifts the burden.

We will reorganise it.

We will wait until next week.

I urge the people out there that the Government is trying to hoodwink - the nurses, teachers and gardaí, the bulk of our citizens - to take to the streets against this disgraceful attempt to hoodwink them and to unload Anglo Irish Bank's gambling debts on to their backs.

They will have to cancel their demonstration now.

This is a chaotic and grotesque way to run a State by any standards. It is symbolic, however, of the anarchy by which the financial markets operate and symbolic of the dictatorship of those financial markets, in front of which Governments all over Europe, most notably the Irish Government, prostrate themselves to do their bidding while bleeding working class people to bail out their system. My first thoughts are with the 800 workers, most of whom are ordinary working people, in this bank who are to be summarily and brutally sacked from their jobs tomorrow morning if the legislation goes through, and who are dependent on NAMA as to whether they will be rehired. The transfer of undertakings does not apply so they can find themselves severely disadvantaged. They are being treated as pawns in this fiasco of high finance.

This does not in any way cancel the disastrous private debts undertaken by Fine Gael and the Labour Party, following their predecessors in Fianna Fáil, and placed on the shoulders of the Irish people as a result of the disaster that was Anglo Irish Bank and its speculation. Section 17 of the Bill makes clear in setting out the scenario whereby this Government will continue to honour the incredible debts that have been placed on our people, private gambling debts for which we have no responsibility.

The financial establishment of European capitalism is dictating everywhere that working people, the poor and unemployed, shall be bled through austerity to meet the bad gambling debts of the financial system. The European financial market system is a broken system, utterly dysfunctional and parasitic on society. Governments, including this Government, at the behest of these markets, are breaking society through savage austerity and crushing with economic misery tens of millions of people. This Bill is part of the whole rotten infrastructure and architecture of that market system and it should be roundly rejected. It is past time the working people of Europe, the poor and the pensioners, rose up to bring down this system to have a financial system that is democratically owned and controlled in the interests of the majority instead of holding literally trillions of uninvested profits for big business while 25 million Europeans languish in unemployment. That is the alternative to the charade we are being forced to hear tonight.

Is náireach agus is tubaisteach an tslí é seo chun tír a riar. Gearrfar 800 oibrigh óna gcuid post maidin amárach de bharr na reachtaíochta seo, gan chearta ar bith ach ag brath ar NAMA más rud go gcoinneoidh siad a bpost. Ní laghdaíonn an Bille seo oiread is euro de na fiacha tubaisteacha ó Bhanc Angla-Éireannach atá tógtha ag an Rialtas seo agus an Rialtas roimhe. Caithfear an córas seo a bhriseadh agus córas eile a chur ina áit a bheith faoi riarachán, stiúradh agus úinéireacht tromlach na ndaoine. Sa tslí sin, is féidir linn an córas lofa seo a chur ar ceal agus córas i bhfad níos fearr a chur ina áit.

As the longest serving Member of this House, the Taoiseach knows better than anyone that it is the constitutional obligation of Dáil Éireann to hold the Cabinet to account. He stated earlier that there is €40 billion at stake in this legislation and I ask fellow Members how we are fulfilling our constitutional obligation this evening in this way.

This is a highly technical piece of legislation with implications for the Irish people for decades to come. We on this side of the House have not had time to go through it. Fine Gael and Labour Members have not had time to go through it. As happened in 2008 and in 2010 when the promissory notes were issued, the finance committee has been by-passed. Tonight, if this accedes to the wishes of the Cabinet, we will have failed in our clear constitutional obligation to hold them to account on a matter of serious national importance.

I have no objections to passing legislation that protects State assets in IBRC. This Bill may do that, but it does much more. Critically, it passes the €28 billion promissory note from IBRC to the European Central Bank. If and when the Government Members vote "Yes" for this legislation, they will be moving €28 billion - as a debt to two dead banks under criminal investigation - from IBRC to the European Central Bank. The European Central Bank is legally not allowed write any of that debt down. That is what this Bill does tonight.

The Bill also gives the Minister power, with no Dáil oversight and no Dáil vote, to issue securities.

That means the Minister will be able to sit down with Governor Honohan and the President of the European Central Bank, Mr. Mario Draghi, and say, "Let us all agree to turn this €28 billion promissory note into a 40 year bond", and we in this House will have no say. We will have no vote because we will be giving the Minister that authority in this Bill.

That issuing of a security is an appropriation of public money. Appropriation of public money is the gift of this House alone, not of the Minister or the Cabinet. It is entirely possible that section 17 could be ruled unconstitutional.

Entirely possible.

I want the Minister to withdraw this Bill and come back to the House before the courts open for business in the morning with the minimal legislation needed to protect State assets-----

Deputy Donnelly must be joking.

-----and then come back with wider legislation and allow this House, including the Government's TDs, do what it was elected to do, and allow the finance committee play its role. Let us talk about it, debate it and then vote on it.

This Bill, brought in this way this evening, is very dangerous and it is a fundamental erosion of parliamentary democracy. I ask all Members to think very hard about how they vote this evening.

When Fine Gael and Labour formed a new Government in 2011, we promised to renegotiate the bailout programme inherited from the previous Government to secure a more affordable solution to our banking and sovereign debt crises. In particular, we committed to replacing short-term emergency Central Bank lending secured against the promissory notes used by the previous Government to bail out the worst Irish banks with longer-term, more affordable financing that reduces the burden on Irish taxpayers and reinforces growing confidence among potential investors in Ireland's economic recovery.

The promissory notes represent, in this Government's view, a highly onerous and unfair legacy of the banking crisis. Under this promissory note arrangement put in place by the previous Government, Irish taxpayers are due to pay €3.1 billion next March and every March until 2023, and declining payments until 2031, to cover the massive private losses of Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide.

I welcome this opportunity to speak in support of the Bill before the House tonight.

This Bill, when enacted, will finally bring an end to the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, IBRC. The IBRC is made up of what remains of Anglo Irish Bank and the Irish Nationwide Building Society. These two institutions, names that will live on in ignominy, are forever associated with the recklessness and greed of a tiny clique that brought this country to the edge of financial ruin. These banks, the people who ran them and the golden circle around them were at the very roots of the crisis that has caused so much distress to the Irish people.

In liquidating this institution, we are doing what should have been done on the night of the blanket bank guarantee.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

That great error of policy and politics sought to keep Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society in existence when they should at that point have been put into a proper resolution process.

This Government is doing what the previous Government should have done - we are ending Anglo Irish Bank, not scrambling to keep it alive. This is what did not happen in 2008, and the history of what followed is well known. The State took on a risk in giving a blanket guarantee to Anglo Irish Bank and other banks which ultimately it was unable to bear and the previous Government was forced to seek international assistance to sustain the finances of the State.

Tonight, we are wiping these two institutions out of existence for good. We are winding up these institutions and transferring the remaining work of managing out their loans to NAMA. This is part of a broader package of banking measures we are working on with our partners in Europe, which is intended to deal with some of the outstanding issues that remain in our banking system. As the House is aware, we are continuing our negotiations with the European institutions on other aspects of this package, including how to deal with the promissory note. The winding up of IBRC is one component of this package. Negotiations will continue on the other elements,

This is the first necessary step in resolving the promissory note issue. When the Government was formed, it committed itself to the renegotiation of the bad promissory note deal entered into by Fianna Fáil and its supporters. There were those who said, when this Government was formed, that a renegotiation of the promissory note deal could not be done. There were also those who said we would not succeed in the negotiations. There were those who predicted failure at every twist and turn. There are some in the House whose biggest difficulty tonight is that the Government is succeeding.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

Selling us out.

Labour's way or Frankfurt's way.

During this week a series of rumours began to circulate about the future of IBRC-----

Where did they come from?

-----which in the opinion of the Government constituted a potential financial risk. Today, the Minister for Finance took the view that these risks had become too great to sustain. Accordingly, and in line with a contingency plan which has been in place for some time in the Department of Finance, he moved to secure the company, and tonight we are moving to provide formally for its liquidation. This action is necessary to secure the value of the assets held by the company. These assets, which are valued at €12 billion, are being secured in the public interest.

I am conscious that this will be an anxious time for the members of staff in IBRC. Every Member of the House acknowledges that no blame rests with the staff who worked in IBRC.

They will appreciate that.

Many of the staff joined the bank in recent times and have worked diligently to secure the value of its assets in the public interest. Regrettably, it has been necessary to make this announcement at short notice. It is intended the majority of them will be employed by the liquidator, at least for some time.

The Minister for Finance has set out the legal standing of the employees and the protections that are provided for them in law. I emphasise and reassure the House with regard to a matter raised by Deputy Michael McGrath that the legal cases currently being taken by IBRC will not be affected by the liquidation. In effect, where legal proceedings are currently being taken by IBRC against borrowers in default, these will now be pursued by NAMA.

Moving on, the liquidation of IBRC is of itself an important step in the process of programme exit. It has been the Government's view for some time that eliminating the legacy risk and the possibility of so-called "tail risk" in IBRC is important in the ongoing process of rebuilding confidence in Ireland, which is a necessary part of programme exit.

By eliminating these two most notorious institutions, markets will have a clearer view on this risk.

Other steps that have been taken in recent times include the sale of the contingent capital in the Bank of Ireland, and the agreement reached to examine the term extension of European programme loans. As we have taken these steps, we have continued to see the yield on Irish Government debt declining towards far more sustainable levels.

This Bill is another step in that process. It is also part of a wider package of measures that we are negotiating with our European partners - negotiations that continue and which we hope to bring to a satisfactory conclusion soon.

The Irish people have endured great loss and great difficulties at the hands of the bankers who ran these banks. The measures taken to save them were wrong and the EU-IMF programme of support that followed was, in the view of this Government, unfair and unworkable. Since coming to office, we have worked with the troika and European partners to renegotiate the programme and to redesign it bit by bit. We are succeeding.

Tonight we are taking another important step in that process and further steps will follow. There is no one step that will right all the wrongs the Irish people have endured. There is no fairytale solution that will bring us back to where we ought to be. What we can do, and are doing, is to patiently negotiate our way through a series of issues, working step by step to deal with the three-legged crisis we inherited - the crisis in banking, the public finances and jobs.

Today is a watershed. The significance of liquidating Anglo Irish Bank will not be lost on the Irish people. What is most important, however, is that this is another step forward towards the day when we can finally face forward as a people, when the past can finally recede into the distance and when Ireland and the Irish people can see the future that they truly deserve.

I am disappointed by the contributions that have been made by some Members of the Opposition. In fairness to Deputy Michael McGrath, he made a thoughtful contribution. The only piece missing from the speech was to mention that what we are doing here is clearing up a mess caused by Fianna Fáil in the first place.

A Deputy

You are in Government now.

I have to say the contributions of other Members were quite remarkable. Here we had Member after Member, whether from Sinn Féin or from the various views contained on the Opposition benches, people who-----

Labour's way or Frankfurt's way.

-----have spent the past two years calling for the liquidation and winding up of the IBRC-----

(Interruptions).

One speaker at a time please.

-----on the very night we introduce the legislation to do just that, the only thing we could hear from these Deputies was them scrambling to find some kind of an argument on which to oppose it. I have to say the arguments they found were bizarre, ridiculous and bear no examination by anybody who wants to see a serious debate on these issues.

That is good coming from you.

In calling this debate, the Government has told us that a genuine emergency situation exists whereby the State would be exposed to considerable difficulties if we fail to act immediately. It has supplied us with little time or information about the exact implications of the legislation. In fact, there has been less time and less briefing than in comparable situations in the past.

The Taoiseach should have called in the Leaders of the Opposition earlier this evening. He should have given them the courtesy of briefing them on the situation that was unfolding, as well as on the legislation. Likewise, the Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan, should have personally briefed the Opposition finance spokespersons. Given the emergency nature of the legislation, its importance and the late hour, that was the least that should have been done for the Oireachtas.

What has happened this evening is unacceptable in terms of presenting this legislation and the time allotted to it, in addition to the very short period we have in which to examine and assess the Bill.

In particular, Members have no capacity to table amendments or make suggestions on the legislation.

That said, Fianna Fáil believes Members must accept in good faith the statement of the Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan, that there is no alternative to producing this legislation in this manner. Fianna Fáil would have preferred more detail and perhaps a more specific explanation of the rationale for the Bill in respect of the risk exposure for the bank and the State and for the Minister, who outlined a potential risk of €14 billion. In his wrap-up, perhaps the Minister will outline in considerably greater detail the actual specific risks to which the State is exposed in the absence of the passage of this legislation this evening. Members have been informed that major financial obligations are inevitable if they delay.

I commend the Minister's speech this evening because it contained no grandstanding, unlike the political posturing and positioning in the speeches of the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste.

The Minister for Finance made a matter-of-fact speech in the context of the Bill tonight, which I accept. Equally, I do not believe the Minister, Deputy Noonan, would misrepresent the facts on so serious a matter. I take the Minister in good faith.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

I appreciate his integrity as a politician and as a parliamentarian and I am prepared to say that here this evening. However, many people on the Government benches achieved their current positions on the basis of always looking for the political angle in every situation. This was the case for many years and while the Tánaiste may attack many Opposition Members, he is in no position to so do-----

Deputies

Hear, hear.

He mastered the art.

----- because in many respects, they are replicating his own performance in opposition for many years. Everyone remembers Frankfurt's way or Labour's way-----

A Deputy

Burn the bondholders.

Deputies, one speaker at a time please.

However, this evening the Tánaiste is again attacking the good faith of opponents. I will not copy those tactics-----

-----even if others will so do during the debate.

As legislators, it is the job of Members to address each measure to the best of their abilities as it comes before them. I accept the point made by Deputy Donnelly that each of us, as an individual, has that responsibility. Even when the circumstances are so exceptional as they are this evening and while the Government has the majority to push through the legislation, there remains a duty on every Member to consider the issue and to push aside political considerations. One could easily go against this legislation from the Opposition perspective in the knowledge that the Government clearly has the numbers to pass the measure. However, in my view that would not be the honourable approach to take.

One must examine the legislation, the rationale and the Minister's statement on the risks to which the State is exposed and then act accordingly. Some Members of the Government, albeit not all, are clearly in the middle of executing a public relations strategy to try to regain lost support. However, that is no basis for anyone to decide on how to vote on this legislation. Equally, the Opposition has a responsibility to accept there are situations in which emergency legislation is required and grandstanding on both sides helps no one. As I stated earlier today, everyone supports a deal to lighten the impact of banking debt on Ireland. Deputy Michael McGrath has outlined the details and issues that should be addressed in respect of a comprehensive deal on Ireland's bank debt, particularly the fundamental issue of the separation of sovereign debt from banking debt but other issues as well. Members have been told this is part of a solution but have been provided no detail in this regard. They learned last year in particular that any claim by the Government to have secured dramatic progress must be examined in detail before it can be believed.

According to reports, the Governor of the Central Bank is continuing his negotiations with colleagues on the ECB Council. Members may know more at 1 p.m. tomorrow afternoon. His technical and negotiating skills are considerable and he has worked tirelessly even in the face of the headwinds caused by Ministers' grandstanding in the media. I continue to wish Governor Honohan well in his work on Ireland's behalf. The Government has placed enormous faith in Governor Honohan and I remind the Taoiseach it was Governor Honohan who stated, not just in the context of the Nyberg report but in another report, that without a bank guarantee, the impact would have been catastrophic. These are the words of the person-----

He did not say anything of the kind.

These are the words of the person------

That is not what he said at the meeting of the finance committee.

These are the words of the person who is negotiating our behalf this evening.

That is not true.

I just want to put that on the record.

What about the facts?

I did not interrupt the Taoiseach or the Tánaiste.

There should be no further interruption.

It is on the record. He said the impact without a guarantee would have been absolutely catastrophic, over and above the very negative impact of the recession itself.

What about the guarantee going forward?

In that context, when the Minister came to power there was €36 billion for unguaranteed bondholders, with €16 billion of that unguaranteed and unsecured. Every one of them was paid.

That was nothing at all to do with the bank guarantee or the bailout. There should be less grandstanding. The parties opposite promised before the last election that they would burn the bondholders. That did not happen and the Government moved to the promissory note. That was fine.

I suppose the Deputy is not looking to score points.

At this stage the people deserve better than the melodrama and grandstanding.

The Deputy does not grandstand.

They deserve better than to have people here who are disingenuous and dishonest in their presentations this evening.

The Deputy is one of the authors of this mess.

The people should be able to do without that.

The people know that.

The Minister is being disorderly this evening as he does not like the truth.

The Minister should allow the Deputy conclude.

He does not like the truth. I am saying very calmly what is the truth.

It is very hard to listen to this after the mess those opposite left us in.

The Minister is being disorderly, as ever, because he does not like the truth. I would like the opportunity to continue my speech and to be afforded the same opportunity I afforded the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and the Minister. We did not interfere or intervene with any speaker and I would appreciate it if I could be afforded the same courtesy by the Minister, Deputy Rabbitte, and others.

Do not misquote the Government.

I have misquoted nobody this evening. The leak of information which caused this emergency session should be investigated. It means we are proceeding with one part of a deal before the whole deal is agreed. It is hoped that this will not cause further problems on top of the reported annoyance at political posturing by Ministers. In the limited time we have had available to be briefed or to seek advice, it appears that this legislation is a legitimate part in a process of lessening the impact of banking debt on the public finances. However, there are number of important questions we would like the Government to answer.

We have been told that this is not last minute legislation and it has been worked on for some time. Therefore, the Government should be in a position to answer questions in some detail and extend the Minister's reply beyond the ridiculous five minutes allocated. We have indicated that Fianna Fáil's intention is to support this legislation and we accept the Minister's statement this evening, given the risk to the €14 billion in assets. As Deputy Michael McGrath noted, in principle and apart from an prospective deal, we have no objection to the winding up of the IBRC and its absorption into NAMA. Nevertheless, I welcome the conversion to NAMA by the Taoiseach and others as I remind them that when the body was established, he used some very colourful language to describe it. He indicated it was a €90 billion "double or quits" gamble with taxpayers' money. The Fine Gael Party leader at the time confirmed that his party would vote against NAMA, which he called "a sweetheart deal" for the banks. Admittedly, the Taoiseach has come a long way since making those statements as Leader of the Opposition but his comments may be somewhat similar to what he would now accuse members of other elements of the Opposition now.

The IBRC was always intended to be a temporary entity and its creation prevented the need to immediately resolve all issues with Anglo Irish Bank. Crucially, it prevented an immediate and unknown crisis of much greater magnitude. The Governor of the Central Bank, Professor Honohan, described the bank as "systemic". It has the form of a bank but in substance it has gone about the business of trying to recoup as much money as possible. Its liquidation in this manner should not have a significant impact but it will facilitate technical changes to the Central Bank's balance sheet required to refinance the promissory notes.

The IBRC currently has well over 850 employees focused on recouping debts. They are managing court cases against a wide range of people, including those who are brazenly trying to avoid full responsibility for their own debts. We would like the Government to explain what will happen to IBRC's employees. The Minister indicated that de facto they will lose their jobs tomorrow morning, and this was repeated by the Taoiseach and Tánaiste. I respectfully suggest to the Taoiseach and Ministers that much more needs to be done to support the workers concerned with regard to employment contracts and issues.

It is noticeable from all the commentary tonight that no guarantees are being given to the workers in terms of their position and there is no engagement with them. Let us be clear, what is happening to the workers is brutal. They have been given very short notice and this has come as an enormous shock to them and their families. In the contributions from the Government side, we heard a great deal of flowery rhetoric about this Bill being historic and all the rest of it but for the 850 workers concerned, it has serious and profound consequences. Their rights and entitlements need to be spelled out. As we speak, negotiations are taking place on the Croke Park agreement. The employees of IBRC have rights and entitlements and have been effectively working for the State in recent years. The Government must take a much more interventionist approach than we have witnessed to date.

I ask the Deputy to conclude as he is over time.

I appreciate that. Will the expertise of IBRC staff be retained? Will they continue to work on recouping all the money owed by debtors? How will the Minister ensure that unfavourable deals are not undertaken? Will the Minister give an assurance that every single debt owed will be pursued under the new arrangements and in the new circumstances?

Deputy Martin is five minutes over time.

I will continue if I may, given that I was interrupted.

By moving to a liquidation procedure, public accountability for the management of these debts has been significantly reduced. As matters stand, we can ask parliamentary questions of the Minister concerning the work of the IBRC. Committees are also in a position to closely oversee the work of the management and board of IBRC and have, on many occasions, extracted vital information. That position must not be affected by the legislation. I ask the Minister to outline the implications of the Bill for parliamentary oversight. I want him to introduce a short amendment giving explicit power to the Oireachtas to oblige co-operation with inquiries by the Oireachtas into the impact of the legislation.

As presented, the Bill does not provide for measures to limit the costs of the process. What actions are proposed to prevent costs from escalating? All members of the current Government voted against the establishment of the National Asset Management Agency. At the time, they stated their major objection was that it gave too much potential power to the Government. That was the clarion call from the then Opposition at the time the agency was created.

I ask the Deputy to conclude.

I will conclude in 60 seconds.

The Taoiseach delivered a lengthy speech, which I outlined, in which he attacked all of these powers. I ask the Minister to explain the Pauline conversion to the virtues of NAMA experienced by Deputies on the Government side.

We straightened NAMA out and freed it up.

Why does he believe it is necessary to extend existing powers in the new Bill?

This liquidation is taking place in the context of a wider deal on the promissory notes which the Governor of the Central Bank, Professor Patrick Honohan, may reach tomorrow at the ECB council. What are the implications for the IBRC debts if a suitable deal is not concluded tomorrow? I ask the Minister to explain in further detail the precise implications of a failure to finalise a deal. Will he also outline the implications of the legislation for the overall size of the national debt? Are the costs to the State of the proposed measures identified exactly or are they subject to other conditions? Has the Minister received all the necessary clearances for the legislation from the Central Bank of Ireland and European Central Bank?

I ask the Deputy to conclude.

With respect, we had unruly interventions from the Government side and the time provided for the debate is short.

I regret the manner in which this legislation was introduced. In future, there should be much better engagement from the Minister with the relevant spokespersons and from the Taoiseach with the relevant leaders.

I hope I will be shown the same latitude as has been shown to the leader of the Fianna Fáil Party.

I have just come on the field.

The Leas-Cheann Comhairle is a super-sub.

Deputies and the citizens we represent have been listening to media speculation since late afternoon that a deal on the promissory note was imminent. Here we are at 1.30 a.m. and we have not been told anything by the Government about this issue. The most revealing part of the Minister's contribution was the following statement:

I would have preferred to be introducing this Bill in tandem with a finalised agreement with the European Central Bank. However, I understand the European Central Bank will continue to consider the proposals made by the Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, with the agreement of the Government, tomorrow.

(Interruptions).

I am sorry. I do not want to interrupt the Minister.

Could we have silence, please?

Sure, the Deputy is not that important.

This is not the way in which the Dáil should be doing business. It smacks of the type of stroke politics that Fianna Fáil pulled in its time and that Fine Gael and Labour rightly condemned.

Like Sinn Féin is doing in the North.

The actual liquidation of Anglo Irish Bank, as opposed to the nonsense we are discussing tonight, should have been done when the bank first collapsed. That is what Sinn Féin argued for.

Sinn Féin voted for the guarantee.

Deputy Adams is not good on history.

This toxic bank and its connections with speculators-----

(Interruptions).

Could we quieten down, please?

The Taoiseach voted for the guarantee, too.

We approach emergency legislation in the same way.

-----developers and corrupt politicians-----

I am pointing out amnesia.

-----the "golden circle", brought this State to its knees. Instead of closing the bank down, Fianna Fáil bailed it out and poured billions of euro in taxpayers' money into it. Labour came along with Fine Gael and did exactly the same. Instead of liquidating the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation the Government wants to compound this mistake by turning bad banking debt into sovereign Government bonds, in effect, a Government promissory note. It wants to wind the bank down, but it does not want to wind down its debt. The Government wants the citizens to fall for this and for the Bill to be passed in two hours.

We would love to magic it away.

This comes after nearly two years of negotiations that the Taoiseach continuously claimed were too intense, detailed and technical for ordinary mortals and decent Deputies to understand. Suddenly, the Bill now has to be rushed through. This is a mark of the Government.

The Dáil has never seen the fabled technical paper on the promissory note that, according to the Taoiseach, the Minister has been working on for 18 months. Where is it? What of the Government's claim in June that there would be a deal on legacy debt by October? Where is it? This is no way to deal with the Dáil. There is a certain benign arrogance about the way the Government treats the Oireachtas and the State's citizens, including the workers of IBRC. No amount of crocodile tears will undo the fact that, without notice and through the media, the workers were informed that their jobs were finished.

Is that how Sinn Féin treats bank workers?

This is no way to deal with any kind of legislation, certainly not legislation as important as the Bill before us. To our cost, the State's citizens have learned that rushed legislation is bad legislation.

The test of the Government's machinations and their outcomes will be whether our citizens benefit, whether communities and low and middle-income families struggling under the burden of the Government's austerity policies will be better off, whether we will finally see a real jobs initiative and-----

Will the Deputy get to the Bill?

-----whether we will see investment in growth. Let us remind ourselves that the Government's proposal is a U-turn on the claims following the European Council meeting in June that there would be a deal on legacy debt by October. That month has come and gone, as has 2012, yet there is still no deal on legacy debt. Neither is there a separation, an idea to which the Government was converted after rubbishing Sinn Féin's championing of the need to separate banking debt from sovereign debt. On the contrary and even on a cursory reading, the Bill will turn bad banking debt into sovereign debt. The Bill reads: "And whereas the winding up of the IBRC is necessary to resolve the debt of the IBRC to the Central Bank of Ireland". No one should be surprised. This Government promised that it would not give another red cent to bad banks.

Then, in one of its first acts as a Government, it paid €3.1 billion to Anglo Irish Bank. Despite our best wishes and us willing the Government to do well, this is no game-changer or seismic shift. The critical issue was never whether there would be a deal; it was what type of deal would be done. Sinn Féin has long advocated a deal that would remove the toxic banking debt from the shoulders of Irish citizens. That is not what is being proposed. This is not a write-down. The Government never asked for a write-down. It never negotiated for one and it did not seek one. The overall stock of the debt remains the same. With interest, it might be larger. The Government might be winding up Anglo Irish Bank as an institution but not its debt. Sinn Féin does not accept that restructuring or paying the debt over a longer timeframe is a credible deal for the taxpayer. The fact is, as the Minister said in opposition, the promissory note should not be paid. It should not be paid for the simple reason we cannot afford to pay it.

We are not paying it.

It is not our debt. The Government’s approach will tie this bad debt to citizens for decades to come – our children and grandchildren will have to pay billions. We are handing a legacy debt to them and we have no idea what the economic and political circumstances will be when the bonds mature. That is wrong. We should not place on the shoulders of children not yet born a legacy which might well damage their future.

That is not good government. It is not good strategic, visionary government. It is short-term, short-sighted opportunism. It is matched only by the Government’s flawed negotiating approach. The Government needed to tell the ECB and the EU that enough is enough. Instead, it told the ECB and the EU that it would honour the debt, that the Government would not have the word “defaulter” written on our foreheads, and it gave up its best negotiating hand at the outset.

The Government finds it easier to be tougher on citizens than it does on our partners in the European Union. It has cut respite care and child benefit, the back to work clothing and footwear allowance and it has taxed maternity benefit. A family home tax is being introduced and septic tank charges have been imposed. It is easy for the Government to be tough on the small people.

To what section of the Bill does that relate?

There will be no relief in what the Government is doing because it is tied to austerity. There will be no relief from the relentless austerity citizens have endured to bail out bankers. Every billion of the bad debt that is paid is a cut to the health budget, an increase in PRSI, a new property tax, more over-crowded classrooms, more workers out of jobs, more families struggling to make ends meet, more Garda stations being closed and more nurses emigrating.

The Bill is to liquidate IBRC.

A credible deal is one that will bring relief to citizens. There have been six austerity budgets, which have taken €28 billion out of the economy. Sinn Féin has long argued for the end of the IBRC. What we simply cannot support is turning the bad debts of this bankrupt bank into sovereign debt. It is not our debt. It does not belong to the people of this State and it never was. Fianna Fáil saddled us with it in the first place. Sinn Féin cannot and will not support the Government in doing this. The Government should not proceed with the Bill. It should bring forward the entire package, finish its deal with the ESB-----

I wish it was as easy as that.

We will keep the lights on.

Gabh mo leithscéal, the ECB.

(Interruptions).

The Minister should not miss the point I make. We can all be smart alecs but Members should listen to what I say. The Minister should introduce the entire package and deal with people as mature citizens who should be empowered by Government, not denied their rights.

Deputy Adams does not have a clue.

We call on citizens to protest their opposition to what Labour and Fine Gael are doing, because they are not doing it in the name of the people who elected them to office.

That was the worst economics speech I ever heard in the House.

The next speaking slot is shared by Deputies Mattie McGrath, Mick Wallace, Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, Catherine Murphy and Thomas Pringle. They have two minutes each.

I feel a sense of déjà vu here. I certainly voted for the bank guarantee and I regret it ever since but unlike tonight the bank guarantee was debated in this House over two or three days following the night it was announced in the Chamber.

I want to look the Taoiseach in the eye. This morning he refused to apologise to the unfortunate victims of the Magdalen laundries and he is here now goading the Opposition. He voted for the bank guarantee.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

The Tánaiste did not vote for it and that is fine. He said it gave away too much power and that is the reason he did not vote for it, yet he has turned around now and told us all that we must vote for this.

This Bill was not drawn up today or yesterday, it was probably drawn up a month ago, but it gives far too much power to people who are unelected. It gives them immense power. God help the people who come under sections 6 and 15 who have to try to deal with it.

A Deputy

The Minister will deal with it.

The Minister will be doing that and I respect him. Many ordinary business people are in jail tonight, having been affected by receiverships, and now we are going to give carte blanche to a new type of receiver, a new animal. I said when NAMA was set up that it was like a wild animal in the woods, we did not know where it would end up and now we are feeding the wild animal to let him off.

The Taoiseach is a disgrace to the electorate who gave him a mandate to do something different, to have different policies and ensure there was transparency. He has come in now to force this Bill through and argue over having 15 minutes or five minutes. It is a disgrace that no senior executives or no accountants have been brought to justice or have been fully charged and brought to trial before the courts. He is going to sack 800 staff tomorrow. The Labour Party should be ashamed of that. I hope the Tánaiste was not taking SIPTU contributions from them. He can laugh and smirk. The same applies to the 1,000 nurses - the yellow pack workers. His party is a disgrace to the electorate.

This is a sad day for Ireland. We cannot saddle the Irish people with this. I accept that Anglo Irish Bank is being wound up. It should have been wound up four years ago, as should Irish Nationwide Building Society, but we cannot have the debts and the promissory note transferred to the people.

That Deputy did that some years ago.

The Deputy did that.

We must get a full deal on this, as Deputy Adams said, a full package that we were promised this morning was on the way. Is this what they had? These are chilling words that the Tánaiste said in Chile, but this is a farce. The Taoiseach has capitulated. He has finally got the liathróidí and he has stood up to the ECB but this is high stakes and we cannot transfer the unsecured debt on to the people.

The Deputy did that some years ago.

He did that when he voted for the guarantee.

There must be a full package. The Members opposite can laugh all they like and say what they like but this is farce. The Taoiseach voted for the bank guarantee, Labour said that it gave away too much powers but now they are here with this. The Taoiseach has worn the clothes of the former Taoiseach and he should be ashamed of what they are doing tonight. They should give us time to discuss this Bill, to have a rational debate on it and explore it. It was not drawn up in a hour or a week; it was drawn up in a month or longer. It gives far too much power to the Minister for Finance. It gives sweeping powers. I represent my people.

How does this all look to the people of Ireland who may be watching tonight? Do they feel that they have a say in the way things are done in this country, in how their lives are organised? The people have come to understand that the big important decisions are now made by people who do not live here. Financial markets, financial institutions and auditors are the people who make the big decisions. Not everyone may realise how the philosophy of neoliberalism operates but the people know what effect it has on their lives and on the lives of their children. It does not prioritise their concerns, rather it prioritises the concerns and interests of the financial markets and all who flourish from their activities. This day will not bring any comfort to the Irish people. It is another episode of watching those who brought this country to the edge of ruin continue to be the dominant players. Democracy in this country, as in much of western Europe, is a fading notion.

This Bill is nothing but a cover to move the promissory notes from this supposed bank to the ECB. If the Members opposite vote for this Bill, it will crystallise this as national debt.

Interest rates have never been high since we joined the euro.

Anthony Coughlan was laughed at that day but today what he has said has crystallised and come true. Government Deputies, by voting for this, are going to start the process of putting a debt on our backs and our children's backs that, most importantly, they did not get a mandate for. We were told that the European Union was set up to save democracy and to stop future wars. What has it done?

It has stopped wars.

It has denied the people of Greece a referendum. It has installed a technocrat as the leader of Italy.

Better that than another Mussolini.

It has told us, whether we like it or not, in the middle of the night, to drive through legislation that will destroy this country. It is a long road. It is a long road without a turn.

It is a bog road.

There is no doubt that everybody is represented here.

Every strand of lunacy is represented.

One of the major problems here tonight is the context of this debate. I am trying to visualise what the mood of this Chamber would be like if this debate was being held in tandem with a final agreement and if that agreement was one that did not include debt write down. The Minister said the he would have preferred to introduce the Bill in tandem with a finalised agreement with the ECB. I am asking him to give us a commitment that he will bring that finalised agreement to this House for our approval. I ask him to confirm that we will be able to vote on it or will section 17 be the monster that we are afraid of? That monster involves transferring a huge amount of power to one individual who can deal with these matters in the absence of the kind of oversight that is required in this House. We need an answer to that question.

For me, any deal that does not include a write down of the debt is not an acceptable deal. It is not our debt and burden sharing should not be between us and the generations to come.

We learned more from twitter and the Internet tonight about what is happening with regard to this promissory note deal, or rather, proposed deal, than the Government Deputies told us in their contributions to the debate on this legislation. That is the level to which democracy has sunk on this Government's watch.

I thank everyone who contributed to the debate. I appreciate that the hour is late and the time limited. I ask Deputies one question initially. Did they ever hear of a liquidation that was announced on one day and not implemented for several days or weeks? Are all liquidations not announced when the liquidator has moved in? Is it not simple to understand why that is? If that is not done, creditors will line up to strip the company of everything they can lay hands on and debtors will refuse to pay a penny because they know the company is going into liquidation.

The assets of IBRC, which are the assets of the people of Ireland, are worth between €12 billion and €14 billion. As soon as credible information was circulated by international agencies this afternoon and the Government and I were not in a position to deny that the Government was planning to liquidate IBRC we had to act. Of course, we were not in a position to deny it because, as many Deputies have said, it is obvious that the legislation was not drafted this afternoon but has been prepared for some time. We had to move.

Under the Anglo Irish Bank Corporation Act, at 4 o'clock this afternoon we put in a representative of KPMG to take over all the powers of the board of the IBRC and secure the assets, which are in Dublin, London and New York. The assets were moved on immediately and security was put in place to secure them on behalf of the State. Tonight, we are taking the same nominee of KPMG and giving him a stronger legal basis by giving him powers under the special liquidation.

To anyone who has worries about this, I suggest that we not concentrate so much on the detail but look on the purpose.

(Interruptions).

I am making a serious point. Let us look at the purpose of the Bill. It is to put a special liquidator with special powers into IBRC first thing tomorrow morning when the President has signed the Bill so that Irish taxpayers' assets of, potentially, €14 billion are protected. Let us think of the purpose of the Bill. We can go on to the detail later, when we have a short Committee Stage. I ask Deputies to give the Government the power to protect those assets on behalf of the taxpayers.

A number of questions have been raised. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked for a commitment that we debate any possible deal in the House. We can easily give that commitment. It will be debated in full and we will vote on any deal we enter into.

What about the children's Bill?

Would the Deputy be quiet over there?

He might learn something.

If we did not have a stamped copy of the Bill, we could not bring it into the House so ipso facto, it is constitutionally proofed by the Attorney General.

A number of Deputies have drawn attention to potential difficulties they see in section 17. This would be a serious issue if it was not part of our law already. Under section 17, powers are transferred from the Minister for Finance of the day to the NTMA but that has always been the position and the NTMA under its basic legislation is empowered to issue securities. Specifically, I refer Deputies to the Irish Bank Corporation Act 2009, section 34: "For purposes of this Act and to enable the Minister to provide funds for Anglo Irish Bank's continued operation, the Minister may whenever and so often as he thinks fit create and issue securities." It is already part of Irish law, both under the base legislation of the NTMA and specifically in the Anglo Irish Bank legislation. There is nothing in section 17 that is not already in our law. It will not be exercised by the Minister for Finance - this Minister for Finance would not know how to issue a security. The NTMA does this in consultation with the Minister for Finance or on the instruction of the Minister. The NTMA during the year got us back into the markets and is issuing Government paper. We do not have a debate every time the NTMA issues Government paper. It must have the flexibility to time markets on that basis.

People asked why we had to act and I think we have dealt with that. No one would stand over a situation where it was clear statements were being made in Reuters and Bloomberg and we were not in a position to contradict them. No one would let that situation develop so the assets of the bank would be impaired in the way I describe. If that happened, the Opposition would be rightfully very critical of any Government that would allow that.

There is power under the Bill for the Minister to issue directions to the liquidator. If this legislation is passed tonight and signed by the President, the same person from KPMG who has already secured the property this afternoon will be the special liquidator. I will issue instructions to him and I will put a copy of those instructions into the Library of the House as soon as that is done and they will be available to Deputies.

Let us hope KPMG does the grand job it did with Irish Nationwide.

I realise the difficulties for the staff. The legal position is as I outlined in my introductory remarks. The liquidator will require the specialist expertise of the staff who are familiar with the portfolios within the banks and they will be hired on a contract basis by the liquidator. As well as that, in running down certain portfolios, NAMA will be recruiting from the staff who have been dealing with the deleveraging of portfolios in the bank. I cannot offer any more comfort than that. I would expect the majority of staff to be re-employed for significant periods and that will give them an opportunity to decide their futures. These are very skilled people and the financial services industry is one of the industries in the State that has been going well, with strong inward investment. I expect people with that level of expertise who have done a very good job in IBRC and Anglo Irish Bank, and who bear no responsibility whatsoever for anything that has happened, will find employment.

Question put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 113; Níl, 36.

  • Bannon, James.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Butler, Ray.
  • Buttimer, Jerry.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Byrne, Eric.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Coffey, Paudie.
  • Collins, Áine.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Conaghan, Michael.
  • Conlan, Seán.
  • Connaughton, Paul J.
  • Conway, Ciara.
  • Coonan, Noel.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Daly, Jim.
  • Deasy, John.
  • Deering, Pat.
  • Doherty, Regina.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Dowds, Robert.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Feighan, Frank.
  • Ferris, Anne.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Flanagan, Terence.
  • Fleming, Sean.
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Hannigan, Dominic.
  • Harrington, Noel.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Hayes, Brian.
  • Hayes, Tom.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Hogan, Phil.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Humphreys, Kevin.
  • Keating, Derek.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kelly, Alan.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Kenny, Seán.
  • Kirk, Seamus.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • Lawlor, Anthony.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • Lynch, Ciarán.
  • Lyons, John.
  • Maloney, Eamonn.
  • McCarthy, Michael.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • McNamara, Michael.
  • Mitchell, Olivia.
  • Mitchell O'Connor, Mary.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Mulherin, Michelle.
  • Murphy, Dara.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Nash, Gerald.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Nolan, Derek.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
  • Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
  • O'Donnell, Kieran.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • O'Mahony, John.
  • O'Reilly, Joe.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • Perry, John.
  • Phelan, Ann.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Reilly, James.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Spring, Arthur.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Timmins, Billy.
  • Troy, Robert.
  • Tuffy, Joanna.
  • Twomey, Liam.
  • Varadkar, Leo.
  • Wall, Jack.
  • Walsh, Brian.
  • White, Alex.

Níl

  • Adams, Gerry.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Collins, Joan.
  • Colreavy, Michael.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Daly, Clare.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Stephen S.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Flanagan, Luke 'Ming'.
  • Fleming, Tom.
  • Halligan, John.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Healy-Rae, Michael.
  • Higgins, Joe.
  • Keaveney, Colm.
  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
  • McDonald, Mary Lou.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McLellan, Sandra.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Nulty, Patrick.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O'Brien, Jonathan.
  • O'Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Wallace, Mick.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Paul Kehoe and Emmet Stagg; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and John Halligan.
Question declared carried.