Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath has welcomed the successful flotation of AIB this morning which looks set to yield €3.4bn for the exchequer.

Deputy McGrath commented, “The flotation of AIB has been successfully executed, underpinned by strong investor demand for shares in the bank. As well as receiving €3.4bn for just less than 29% of the bank, the State now has a proper valuation for its remaining 71% shareholding. There is now a real prospect of the State recouping over time the full €20.8bn investment in AIB, a prospect which in my view supports the decision to rescue AIB in the first place back in 2008.

“Today is not a day for celebration. The ordinary shareholders who lost everything in the banking collapse of 2008 should be remembered. In addition, the enormous sacrifices imposed on the Irish people as a result of the banking collapse have to be recognised.

“It remains Fianna Fáil’s view that the Government should be seeking greater flexibility from the European Union on the use of these proceeds. Given the collapse in capital investment levels under Fine Gael, it is our view that at least some of the proceeds should be earmarked for investment in the economy. It is deeply regrettable that the Government hasn’t even made this case in Europe.

“The Government may be tempted to sell more of the State’s shareholding in our banking system on the back of today’s flotation but this is not something we support at this time, particularly in view of the Government’s failure to secure any concession on how the proceeds would be used.

“It is our view that the State should hold a majority shareholding in AIB for the foreseeable future.  We are also concerned at reports that the bank intends to sell loan portfolios to so called vulture funds.

“Personal borrowers and SMEs continue to pay over the odds for their loans in Ireland. The return to profitability for the banks has been secured on the backs of these customers. The government now needs to focus on attracting more competition into our banking system and delivering a better deal for consumers,” concluded McGrath.