The Irish people were conned

On this evening's Tonight with Vincent Browne, Mary Minihan, Karl Whelan, Kevin Rafter and Damien English will discuss Fine Gael's first year in office and Michael Noonan's announcement to the Dáil on promissory note payment today. Below, Vincent Browne blogs ahead of the show.

Fine Gael and Labour promised in the last election campaign – just over a year ago – that they would seek a write-down of the bank debt that had been inflicted on the Irish people.

They didn’t quite put it that way but that is what was understood and that is what they wanted people to understand.

Enda Kenny’s party said:

"Fine Gael believes that the IMF/EU bailout deal has not and will not restore investor confidence in our country and must therefore be renegotiated to reduce the interest rate and to ensure a fairer sharing of the cost of fixing   Ireland  ’s broken banks."

And :

"Fine Gael in government will force certain classes of bondholders to share in the cost of recapitalising troubled financial institutions. This will be done unilaterally for the most junior bondholders (owners of preference shares, subordinated debt and similar instruments) but could be extended – as part of a European wide framework – for senior debt, focusing on insolvent institutions like Anglo Irish and Irish Nationwide that have no systemic importance".  

Eamon Gilmore’s party said:

“Labour believes that bank bondholders should share in bank losses" and "Labour will seek to ensure that burden sharing with bondholders is part of a renegotiated (EU/IMF) deal". 

They both will try to wriggle out of these promises, but had either or both of them said before the last election: “We don’t even bother seeking a write down, let alone a write off of the bank debt which has nothing to do with the Irish people. All we will do is seek a reduction on the interest rate on the debt that has been inflicted on the Irish people and seek a deferral on the payments,” what do you think would have happened in the election?

Yes, it is likely there would have been a Fine Gael/Labour government but with nothing like the majority it enjoyed. The fact is that the Irish people were conned and this jubilation over the deal on the promissory notes is just an exacerbation of the injury that has been done.

No doubt the Fine Gael Árd Fheis at the weekend will be in ecstasies over the promissory note deal but there will be some anguish over the hash the government and Fine Gael minister Phil Hogan made of the household charge.

This fiasco may have lasting consequences. If, as seems likely, less than half of those required to sign up and pay do so, the chances of the government being able to introduce a property tax next year and make it stick will be greatly compromised. And that will be a major problem with the Troika and with the fiscal deficit.

So, very likely, more trouble ahead. {jathumbnailoff}

We'll be curating #vinb tweets during the show and Vincent will respond to the issues raised afterward. Refresh the page for updates.