Costello says keep banks in State ownership
“The tracker mortgage scandal demonstrates once again that the Irish banking system cannot be trusted to deal honestly with the Irish people.
“Two of the main culprits are banks that are still substantially in State ownership. AIB is 71% owned by the Irish taxpayer and Permanent TSB is 75% while bank of Ireland’s state shareholding is reduced to 14%.
“The apparent inability of the Banks to treat their customers honestly and refrain from defrauding them of their investments when the occasion arises is a matter of serious concern for Irish people who have bank shares, bank accounts or mortgages.
“Having beggared the country, the banks are now beggaring their individual customers. The Government’s response in recent days is farcical: the Minister for Finance is calling in the Banks’ CEOs and will give them a dressing down! These hardened Machiavellis, who see ethics as an opportunity to make money, will hardly be quaking in their boots!
“The fact that the pillar banks are exempt from corporate tax on profits for the next twenty to thirty years due to their previous losses make it impossible to hit them where it hurts with taxes. And any new levy or increase in the existing levy must be proportionate. Legal action for redress will be opposed to the bitter end and the banks have very deep pockets.
“The only way that the Government can punish the Banks’ CEOs and really benefit the people into the future is by retaining the 71%, 75% and 14% shareholding in the two pillar banks and Permanent TSB.
“The Minister for Finance should tell those banks when he meets them during the week that they have gone beyond the Pale; that they can no longer be trusted to operate honestly; that in the interests of the Irish people and the Irish economy there will be no further dilution in State shareholding and that in future they will conduct their banking activities in accordance with rules and regulations laid down by the Irish Government and the Central Bank.”