Is government trying to sell off AIB shares without a Dáil vote?

May 1, 2017

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy TD has insisted that a Dáil vote take place before any decision is made on the future of the State-owned Allied Irish Bank.

Deputy Murphy said the government was turning a deaf ear to repeated calls for an informed Dáil debate over its plans to sell a 25 per cent stake in the nationalised bank.

Deputy Murphy said: “AIB is 99.9 per cent owned by the State and it received €20.8 billion in public funds when it was bailed out. Instead of rushing head long into selling off these public assets in the coming weeks, we need to stand back and weigh up the pros and cons in the public interest. This is even more pressing following last week’s news that AIB has been fined by the Central Bank for breaching money laundering regulations and is also facing potential legal action by investors.

“A detailed cost-benefit analysis should be carried out and put before the Dáil for a vote. This would allow us to assess the benefits or otherwise of a share sale now, at some stage in the future, or not at all. For example, instead of selling the shares, it may be better for the State to hold on to them and invest any dividends in much-needed infrastructural projects like housing and transport.”

Deputy Murphy added: “The government has turned a deaf ear to repeated calls for this issue to be debated and voted on in the Dáil. The Minister for Finance is relying on precedent for his insistence that a decision on the sale ‘would likely be one for government’. But this is an unprecedented situation, and the government has a clear responsibility to allow elected representatives to make an informed decision. The government must not proceed with any share sale without clear Dáil support.”

ENDS

1 May 2017