Vincent Browne Vs Troika: Video And Transcript


Troika (EU, ECB & IMF) representatives, and Barbara Nolan, head of the European Commission representation in Ireland, held a press conference on the latest bailout review this afternoon.

Klaus Masuch, head of EU Countries Division at the European Central Bank
Istvan Szekely, director of economic and financial affairs at the European Commission
Craig Beaumont, mission chief for Ireland at the IMF.
Barbara Nolan, head of the European Commission representation in Ireland.

Early in the conference, Istvan Szekely said: “I’m impressed by the depth of the discussion in Ireland and the understanding of complex, economic financial-sector issues, which is revealed by looking into the Irish place, looking into the discussion. But also when I come from the airport with the taxi driver they are often very very informed I must say, very very informed.”


Vincent Browne: “Klaus Masuch, did your taxi driver tell you how the Irish people are bewildered that we are required to pay unguaranteed bondholders billions of euros for debts that the Irish people have no relation to or no bearing with, primarily to bail out or to ensure the solvency of European banks? And if the taxi driver had asked you that question,hat would have been your response? That’s my first question.”

Barbara Nolan: “Well, well, well, can we take a couple together? Can you ask the second question?”

VB: “Well, my second question is a completely different issue and it may have a follow-through if Mr Masuch doesn’t answer the question in a way that would illuminate the taxi driver’s understanding of all this, I would have a follow-through question.”

Nolan: “Right, can I ask you then to pass the mic, and we’ll come back to you for the second question?”

Browne: “Well, if you don’t mind, that’s a way of breaking up the exchange, and I would prefer if it went this way: We’ve a tradition in Irish journalism that we pursue issues and that when somebody doesn’t ask [answer] a question we follow through on it and I hope that tradition will be respected on this occasion. So could you answer the question?”

Masuch: “I have answered a very similar question of you – I think it was two reviews ago – and can…”

Browne: “[inaudible] the question”

Masuch: “… and I answered it. I can understand that this is a difficult decision to be made by the government and there’s no doubt about it but there are different aspects of the problem to be, to be balanced against each other and I can understand that the government came to, came to the view that, all in all, the costs for the, for Irish people, for the, for the stability of the banking system, for the confidence in the banking system of taking a certain action in this respect which you are mentioning could likely have been much bigger than the benefits for the taxpayer which of course would have been there. So the financial sector would have been affected; the confidence of the financial sector would have been negatively affected, and I can understand that there were, that there was a difficult decision but that the decision was taken in this direction.”

Browne: “That, that… Well, that doesn’t address the issue. We are required to pay, in respect of a defunct bank – that has no bearing on the welfare of the Irish people at all – we are required to pay in respect of this defunct bank, billions on unguaranteed bonds in order to ensure the health of European banks. Now how would you explain that situation to the taxi driver that you talked about earlier?”

Masuch: “I think I have addressed [looking to Barbara Nolan] the question.”

Browne: “No you haven’t addressed the question because you referred to the viability of the Irish financial institutions. This financial institution I’m talking about is defunct. It’s over. It’s finished. Now, why are the Irish people required, under threat from the ECB, why are the Irish people required to pay billions to unguaranteed bondholders under threat from the ECB?”

Masuch: [silence]

Browne: “You didn’t answer the question the last time so maybe you’ll answer it this time.”

Masuch: [mutters to Barbara Nolan]

Nolan: “Well, I think he doesn’t have anything to add to what he’s already said. Can I.. [pointing at another questioner]”

Browne: “Well, just a minute now. This isn’t, this isn’t good enough… You people are intervening in this society causing huge damage by requiring us to make payments not for the benefit of anybody in Ireland but for the benefit of European financial institutions. Now, could you explain why the Irish people are inflicted with this burden?”

Manusch: “Well, I think I have addressed the question.”

Browne: “You’ve nothing to say. There’s no answer, is that right? Is that it? No answer?”

Manusch: “I have given an answer”

Browne: “You have given an answer that didn’t address the question.”

Nolan: “That’s your view.”

Browne: “That is my view and I think it would be the view of the taxi driver and a few of our viewers tonight.”

Nolan: “Right. Can we please move on?”

Earlier: Vincent Browne In Da House (Video)

(Laure Hutton/Photocall Ireland)

68 thoughts on “Vincent Browne Vs Troika: Video And Transcript

    1. cronin7

      i completely agree not the Vincent browns biggest fan either but i have new found respect for him now… personally i dont really give a f**k who barbara nolan probably just doing her job even tho she does come off as a bit of c*** i would just like the guy to answer the question

  1. Paul

    Who is this Barbara Nolan? She did a great take-off of Martin Mansergh, trying to keep the proles from asking the hard questions.

  2. Ummmmm

    That’s a bit strong. With comments like that you are taking focus off the acual point: why do we have to pay bondholders who do not have a guarantee?

    1. Derek

      Yeah, I watched the video on RTE player, even though I have no TV licence “scrounger” and I also figure that Babs is a traitor!

  3. Nell496

    Well done Vincent, as usual asking the questions that we all want answers to. Good on you. Unfortunately no answers, but not for the want of you trying.

  4. Choppysixty6

    That f**ker from the troika couldn’t give an answer because he knew that what Vincent was saying is the truth and he was probably shocked that we actually realise we are being screwed !
    Who the f**k is is this Nolan ?
    Sometimes I wish I was ignorant to it all I get so angry

  5. cathal

    well done vincent – there is no answer they can give as its called blackmail. please spread this transcript one and all.

  6. mark

    Good man Vincent. Barbara Nolan’s role is that of an information conduit from the EU to the Oireacthas and the media… It would appear this should also work both ways.

    She was dismissive of Vincent’s question, in a kind of “we’ve heard all that before”, “build a bridge” kind of way, which given her role was not very accommodating. This is quite telling, in that it highlights the blinkered outlook which guides much of the politicos of our day. They have their plans and their scripts….

    FYI : more info on Barbara Nolan here >>

  7. King of the Trees

    Fair play Vinnie B. Keep pushing the f*ckers. Cant believe zoolander dug the troika out of a hole by moving on from the unsecured bondholders question.

    Whats just as shocking is that they didnt even have a semi prepared answer for what is the most burning issue of the entire bailout. They clearly couldnt give a shiney sh*te the f*ckbags.

  8. EMC

    Why isn’t any politician pushing questions like this? He was the only one pressuring Cowan in the same way too.

    1. Zigfield Benzene

      And Bertie, and Charlie. Vincent may be a cantankerous auld fart a lot of the time, but he’s pretty much the only vox populi in town. He’ll never really get a straight answer but he voices concerns, starts debate and ratchets up pressure.
      A national treasure.

      1. Bob

        his answer was if anyone bothered to read it (which people obviously arent) that it was the government’s decision. Thats why no politician asks the question, because theyd be pointing the finger at themselves.

  9. Joxer

    Masuch answer to VB was quite illuminating and hopefully the irish people will pick up on this and understand it.

    the answer was “f*ck off”

    1. Ann

      Totally dismissive of VB . A bunch of arrogant dictators. When are people going to wake up and see what this country has running them now.

  10. rapmachine no diggidy no doubt

    well played browne. probably on a fraction of the money pat kenny and his son ryan are on

  11. a taxi driver

    As a taxi driver can i just say – Masuch says we are paying the unsecured loans because the cost of not paying these loans in terms of damage to our economic credibility will be far greater than the cost of paying them. Brown says we have no economic credibility. Masuch says nothing but the organisation who he represents continues to fund our schools, hospitals, social protection , arts programs, universities ect ect.

  12. Jimbo

    Is he German, that Masuch? What a patronising load of twaddle from him. I saw Marc Coleman behind Vinnie and I wonder did he question them similarly? The country is being robbed blind and we stand idly by and let it happen.

  13. Nina

    From a Greek woman that is baked well done out of troika and people like those (its like we fight 1000 Hittles at the same time) i have to say one thing..we need that kind of journalist in Greece that dark time..unfortunately they have all sold their souls to the devil…
    Well done mr Vincent Browne!!!

  14. a taxi driver

    What if Anglos name was changed to Anglo Not Irish Bank or Anglo German Bank, maybe then we could deny the debt. Our own people have robbed us. They were our bankers, our politicians, our lawyers our ruling class. As it turned out they were not fit to rule and now we are ruled from elsewhere and we have no choice in the matter.

  15. Paul Leahy

    Brilliant questioning by VB. Those who borrowed from the bondholders on our behalf are the most culpable. The injustice of repaying them by closing our public services should be the main focus of our anger.

  16. cionn

    That taxi driver should have driven him to a remote part of the mountains where they would never been seen again.

  17. Desmond O'Toole

    Vincent Browne is a self-regarding, political dilletante, but in this exchange with the representative of the ECB he nailed the issue of Irish people being obliged to bail out failed banks and exposed the ECB spokesperson for the patronsing bluffer he is. Well done.

  18. pixie hat

    My word….what personalised attacks on a communications officer….it would make more sense to worry about the smug looking dudes beside her….they’re you’re probllem, she’s just telling you why. Well done VB..

  19. Joe McGivern

    good on ya vb. talk about side-tracking a question. do they think we are complete gobshites??!! can’t see why we should be propping up the german and french speculators. time to stand up. enough of the bullshit and side-tracking. we have enough of our domestic finacial issues to contend with without propping europe. what do they think our backs are made of?! browne for president!!!

    1. Tony Phillips

      Not only does the ECB think that the Irish People are “Gob Shites”, the are counting on the fact that the majority of their parliamentary representatives are too.

      The evidence seems to indicate that the majority of both –are just that but i prefer to believe that this is lack of information and not corruption (at least as regards the public).

      For now anyway let’s hope that this kind of journalism helps raise the bar on informing the public on this issue!

  20. Lucie

    Wow, go Vinny B. This link is going on my fb page. What a terrible shame that there is so much corruption and that the average citizen foots the bill.

  21. Holly

    I have a complete girl crush on Vincent Browne now. Is the the right safe and supporting forum to admit that in?

    1. Holly

      I mean ‘Is the the right safe and supporting forum to admit that in?’

      See the effect he has on me? I can’t even spell with the thought of him.

  22. Turlough

    You may not always agree with Browne but he nails the
    f… and digs deep when every other spineless Journo’s ( aka RTE )are terrified that they may rock the boat and jeopordise their own cushy salaries , that are 4 and 5 times the wages of the banks foot soldiers ie the equally gutless politicians.
    What are we ever gonna do without him…

  23. Iwerzon

    Lads, what are we going to do? Half the country is too posh to protest. We need to seriously voice our outrage with our feet and I don’t mean a ICTU token gathering at the GPO. We are screwed, I want to do something. pS – I luv u VB!

  24. Citizen Cutback

    Remember when Vincent challenged Bertie back in 2007?
    Wasn’t Vincent working for RTE Radio at the time?
    Didn’t he lose his gig there and that why he is now with TV3?

  25. Turlough

    The ICTU are part of the problem also…. prostituted themselves to the fat cats and took the Kings shilling ( actually quite a lot of shillings as it happens)…and the reprobates are now claiming to be a voice for the ordinary Jo… Thats the reason that we dont get full compliance from the public when those b…….ds organise a demonstration.. Loved it when our dear ‘ comrade ‘ Jack O Connor got booed at the GPO last time. He was lucky..he should have been hung from the spire.
    p.s…aint it funny that a million quid has suddenly been refunded by the ‘slush’ fund account that was meant for HSE trainees and the unions knew nothing about it!!
    C’mon Vin…stick it to all those bastards

  26. Des Mulreany

    Well done Vincent, and why is Ms Nolan defending no answer from Troika. One can only guess she must be on some retainer

  27. ks

    Nolan let her country down. She may be a communications officer but trying to meet VB off at the pass before he made his ambush is not good communication. Also, if you listen carefully, her ‘hang on’ in her best Orish accent was a deliberate warning to VB to shut up. Any Irish person should spot that.
    On her personally, she obviously believes in either the fact that she is being paid a huge amount of cash and wants keep it or she believes that the whole load of tosh is actually working. Either way, she is the complete opposite of what we need; somebody who is actually willing to stand up publicly and say ‘no more’. The country is better off without her. She contributes nothing to the problem and for those who say this idea of focusing on her rather than the issue at hand, I disagree. She is exactly what is wrong with the system. Too many people like her in positions of influence and power, that they were not voted into, and thus could in theory be there for a very long time. We are now back to the days before Realpolitik where people are in positions of power that they did not train for properly or earned through the wrong channels. Is she a traitor, in the traditional sense? Maybe not but I think she she could be considered a traitor if you use the same analogy that Eamon Gilmore use to describe Brain Cowen’s actions.

    1. Bob Banner

      Or she’s someone trying to run a press conference. If any of you watched any more than the VB excerpt, you’d have seen that questions were taken in threes throughout. VB decided he was too important to stick to that.

      1. Paul

        Requiring questions in 3’s is done to control a press conference. “Running” a press conference might imply that some kind of information is being exchanged. Nothing of that sort happened.

  28. Conor

    I think what we have to realise is that if Ireland and other nations in a similar situation dont pay unguaranteed bondholders in Europe then Europe has no money to give to Ireland for a bail out. Everyone has been lent money to keep them going and budget adjustments have been made to make that affordable and the markets are still terrified there will be further collapse.

  29. Lieve Vercautere

    Vincent Browne is an excellent journalist! I would like to thank him for being so human too.

  30. tom

    every body go to today fm .com they have an e mail set up to ask klauss to answer vincent browns question all you have to do is put in your e mail address it is a very well worded letter and hopefully enough people will do it so we can get a decent answer.

  31. Duran

    “the king is naked” finally someone daring to ask fundamental questions: Finance industry invented their own rules, benefits, statue etc… But instead of being victime of their failure like any private company, they forced governments to cover their asses….

  32. Dean

    I’ve watched this a few times now and it’s interesting to note the body language of Klaus Masuch.
    To begin with he says. ” The attitude of the Irish People is very good” at that point he hangs his head.
    No doubt to break eye contact or to express shame.
    (VB asks question.)
    Klaus Masuch looks around nerviously playing with pen.
    (VB Finishes question)
    KM tries to deflect and fails at which point Barbara Nolan gives him permission to answer (Following a quick mumble)
    KM:” I can understand “<Body Lang becomes closed. Notice the hands now from a physical barrer. He also begins to rub his thumb (Common sign of distress).
    KM: "Their are different aspecs of the problem to be balanced against each other. (Hangs head and speaks into his chest – Common sign of lying… Notice how some kids do the same when they Lie.
    KM: "I can understand that their was a difficult decision…"and that the decision was taken in this direction…"(While shaking his head no -again lying)
    VB: "That, that… Well, that doesn’t address the issue. We are required to pay, in respect of a defunct bank…."
    KM: (Open body language for the first half of question…the then sits forward and once again puts up the barrier with his hands)
    KM: "I think i have addressed the qestion" (Vigorously playing with thumb out of discomfort)

    Good to see the f**ker squrm and to note that they have a hidden adgenda.

  33. David

    Mr. Browne I love your straightforward questions and your honesty. I love you for your guts. I wish journalism institute teaches your bravery.

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