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Taoiseach ‘misspoke’ when claiming banks were not bailed out

Micheal Martin said he had been referring to the banks’ owners and shareholders.

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Taoiseach Micheal Martin said he ‘misspoke’ in claiming the banks were not bailed out following the 2008 financial crisis (PA)

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said he ‘misspoke’ in claiming the banks were not bailed out following the 2008 financial crisis (PA)

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said he ‘misspoke’ in claiming the banks were not bailed out following the 2008 financial crisis (PA)

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said he “misspoke” in claiming the banks were not bailed out following the 2008 financial crisis.

In 2010, Irish banks were given upwards of 64 billion euros in State liquidity, borrowed from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The figure, then equal to 40% of Ireland’s economy, will continue to be paid for generations to come.

On Wednesday Mr Martin denied that was a bailout.

He told the Dail: “The banks were not bailed out. Shareholders in the banks were not bailed out.

“The State took equity. The shareholders were not bailed out. That is not a popular thing to say, but it is a fact.”

I misspoke yesterday in the Dail and made a mistake in terms of how I articulated itMicheal Martin

However, Mr Martin has now moved to clarify his comments

He told the Echo newspaper in Co Cork: “I misspoke yesterday in the Dail and made a mistake in terms of how I articulated it.

“Essentially I was making the point that the shareholders themselves weren’t bailed out.

“But obviously the banks – there was a huge rescue package for the banks, of course there was, we know that, in terms of both protecting depositors and protecting bond holders.”

The Taoiseach was responding to a question from People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett on Wednesday, who raised the issue of striking workers at Debenhams who have been made redundant.

On Thursday, Mr Boyd Barrett said that Mr Martin entered a “winter wonderland fairy tale” when he claimed the banks were never bailed out.

He told the Dail: “It seems Christmas started early for the Taoiseach yesterday where he entered into a winter wonderland fairy tale where the bank bailout never happened, the 17 billion was never taken out of Pension Reserve funds to bail out the banks.

“There wasn’t cruel hardship and austerity imposed on huge numbers of people which resulted in the housing crisis, the massive understaffing in our health service, something we are still suffering the consequences of.”

He asked the Tanaiste Leo Varadkar, who was standing in for the Taoiseach, whether there was a “shared acknowledgement” of the past, that people have suffered and that there was a bank bailout.

Mr Varadkar responded: “There was a bailout of the banks 12 years ago and the Taoiseach misspoke yesterday, he’s said that himself already this morning, and he did correct himself very quickly in fairness in the Dail.

“What he meant to say was that bank’s owners, the bank’s shareholders were not bailed out.

“Those who own the banks, those who have shares in the banks lost all or almost all of their money. Some were very wealthy people, some were not, some were just everyday people who bought bank shares as part of their pension and we need to bare that in mind.

“The banks were nationalised, effectively nationalised.”

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