Debt Justice Action – a coalition of community, trade union, global justice, academic, faith-based and other groups that hosts the Anglo: Not Our Debt Campaign – has described as “alarming” media reports that the Irish government is being pressured by the European Central Bank to quickly sell on to the private sector the government bonds it issued to replace the Anglo promissory notes in 2013.
Spokesperson Niamh McCrea said that any such sale would “make an already bad deal even worse”. She said, “The debts run up by a bank like Anglo, which is under criminal investigation, should never have been taken on by the Irish people through the promissory notes, and those notes should not have been turned into sovereign debt, as the government did last year, extending the repayment period but with no write-down of the debt”.
Andy Storey pointed out that as the bonds are currently held by the Central Bank of Ireland, any interest paid on them stays with the Irish state, but that “if they are sold to the private sector, as the ECB is now pushing to happen quickly, then the same class of creditors and bondholders whose gambles were made good by the Irish government will end up making yet more money by raking in the interest payments due”.
Ms McCrea called on the Irish government to “for once, resist ECB pressure and insist that the bonds remain with the Central Bank with a view to negotiating the write-down of this odious and illegitimate debt”.
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