Allied Irish Banks sale 'defies belief', says trade union
Trade union leaders have branded the Government's plans for the sale of part of Allied Irish Banks as scandalous and unacceptable.
About a quarter of the 99% state-owned bank is to be sold to investors in the coming weeks with the money raised to be used to pay off some of the national debt.
Patricia King, general secretary of Congress, said the decision defies belief.
"There is something seriously wrong when the Government can divert massive financial resources from the sale of 25% of its AIB holding to make a marginal impact on the national debt burden while almost 100,000 people languish on public housing lists across the country," she said.
Despite the Labour Party successfully passing a motion in the Dail to delay the sale, the Department of Finance said it would press ahead.
It is thought share sales could raise 2.5 billion to 3 billion euro.
Ms King said the Government was in direct conflict with the Oireachtas, which wants to wait for new rules to allow cash from deals such as this to be used for social emergencies such as the housing crisis.
"As we face the uncertainty of Brexit, the continuing scandal of low pay and precarious work, a dysfunctional health system and other urgent social and economic challenges, it defies belief that Fine Gael and its Independent allies would dispose of valuable public funds in such an unnecessary and wasteful manner," she said.
Siptu president Jack O'Connor said the decision to press ahead with the sale was "indefensible and undemocratic".
"If they are to be sold off, it should only be in order to realise the resources to address the scandalous housing crisis to which our banking system directly contributed," he said.
AIB was bailed out with almost 21 billion euro to save it from collapse at height of the financial crisis. It has paid more than 3 billion euro to the state since then.