Irish Times

The Government has won a crucial Dáil vote on the €85 billion EU-IMF bailout package by 80 votes to 75.

The Coalition carried the motion with the backing of three independent TDs, Kerry South’s Jackie Healy-Rae, Tipperary North’s Michael Lowry and Wicklow’s Joe Behan.

The vote followed a two-hour debate during which Fine Gael claimed it was a bad deal that needed to be renegotiated.

Fine Gael finance spokesman Michael Noonan said the deal was a “downright obscenity”.

He said: “Ireland’s sovereign debt is manageable, but once the banking liabilities incurred by the Government were added to the sovereign debt the situation could no longer be sustained.”

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore said his party would seek a mandate to renegotiate the deal in the upcoming general election. “This deal was put in place because Fianna Fáil’s economic policies had resulted in the Irish state being unable to borrow in capital markets at affordable prices, and because the banking system was unable to fund itself in the open market,” he said.

“It is not good enough, frankly, for the European Commission to treat Ireland as a contagion risk, that has to be contained, no matter what the cost to the people of Ireland. It was Fianna Fáil, the bankers and the property developers who caused this, not the people. “

At a protest outside Leinster House this afternoon, Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin claimed the deal is designed to bail out European bankers and is not in the interest of the Irish people.

“Contrary to the rhetoric of Brian Cowen, there is a better way. We need to set the Irish economy on a new trajectory that seeks to stimulate economic activity, create jobs and gives confidence to the bond markets,” he said.

This evening, the Dáil will debate the Credit Institutions Bill detailing new laws to oversee the multibillion-euro bailout and reduce the size of troubled finance houses. Some €35 billion of the EU-IMF loan facility is earmarked to shore up the banks.

The new rules will impose so-called burden-sharing on global money markets, with some subordinated lenders forced to take a hit on loans made to Irish banks.

The legislation, published yesterday, said a special manager will be appointed to a bank “in limited and exceptional circumstances in order to achieve the objectives of the legislation”.

The laws will also give legal effect to the effective wind-down of Anglo Irish Bank, expected to be early next year, and Irish Nationwide Building Society.

Mr Lenihan said once the legislation is passed, AIB will be given a cash injection by the end of the year.

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