The contradictory messages coming from different Government Ministers, and the lack of a coherent negotiating strategy, could jeopardise the deal in the offing on the Anglo Irish Bank debt, according to Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Deputy Michael McGrath.
Deputy McGrath commented, “Over recent weeks, the Government’s handling of the Anglo debt negotiations has been all over the place. On the imminence of a deal, on the link with the Fiscal Stability Treaty and on the nature of the deal itself, different Ministers are publicly saying very different things. The Government seems determined to miss the opportunity that is before it to seize a deal on this bank debt.
“What seems to be happening is that each party in the coalition is most anxious to get the good news out – long before any deal is done at all. This desire for a party political PR coup is jeopardising the possibility of securing the deal itself.
“Last month, Minister Pat Rabbitte told the Wall Street Journal that a deal would be concluded ‘in the next few weeks’ and before the next payment is due at the end of March. However, speaking yesterday, Minister Noonan stuck to his line that any deal ‘would be in the medium term rather than immediately’.
“Minister Joan Burton has linked the passage of the Fiscal Stability Treaty to securing a deal on the debt but she has been publicly rebuked by the Taoiseach and Tánaiste. Various other Ministers have put their personal gloss on where things stand in the absence of an agreed Government strategy. Government Ministers are briefing the media against each other while the clock is allowed to tick down to March 31st.
“The public intervention by the IMF ten days was highly significant and underlines our firm belief that a deal is in the offing. Over recent months, Fianna Fáil has argued that Ireland has an exceptional case to have the burden of bank debt eased. With less than three weeks to go, it is high time the Government begun to act like a team and put the internal coalition politics to one side to ensure this deal is achieved for Ireland.”