Belfast Telegraph

'No rift' over Anglo Irish bail-out

Cabinet ministers have put on a united front as the Government dismissed claims of a rift in the coalition over the 23 billion euro bill for bailing out Anglo Irish Bank.

The future of the toxic bank dominated talks headed by the Taoiseach after the Greens claimed they would prefer to see the costly survival plan wound up quickly.

Fianna Fail ministers have promoted a longer term run down with the bank management wanting to oversee a good-bank, bad-bank split.

Amid suggestions the coalition partners were at odds over the nationalised lender, the Government stressed value for taxpayers' money was the priority.

"The Government is united in its determination in relation to the resolution of the Anglo-Irish Bank issue - that it must be done at the least practicable cost to the taxpayer and in a way that gives finality," it said in a statement. "The Government is working with the EU authorities to that end; it is also in active discussion with the EU Commission about the future of the bank guarantee."

The European Commission is expected to give its views this month on the future of Anglo, after the bank issued the worst corporate returns in Irish history with 8.2 billion euro losses.

Green Senator Dan Boyle on Monday appeared to signal a rift in Government circles when he called for a quicker wind down of Anglo.

It had been expected that Greens at the Cabinet table, Environment Minister John Gormley and Communications Minister Eamon Ryan, would put forward the case for the move rather than the good-bank, bad-bank option and an orderly wind down. The quicker wind down would potentially see Anglo shut in less than 10 years.

Meanwhile, the Unite trade union called on the Government to move on from the Anglo debate and address the unemployment crisis.

Regional secretary Jimmy Kelly said: "We have seen unemployment rise to 13.8%, retail sales fall month on month and year on year again, and we now have as many as one in 20 mortgages in arrears of more than 90 days. These are real problems, caused by unemployment and affecting every family and every street in Ireland. Any hope that a summer of reflection on the part of ministers might have awakened a sense of responsibility and prompted real action appears to have been forlorn."

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