That Seemed To Go Well


Dan Boyle author of newly published Green memoir Without A Clue Power Or Glory, attempted to explain his party’s position in the bank guarantee with Vincent Browne (also featuring Glenna Lynch) last night.

Literally toe-curling.

Vincent Browne: “Dan, you didn’t keep a diary I assume from reading the book?”

Dan Boyle: “Well, not a written diary. I had a lot of electronic sources I could refer to and I’d have had access to notes that were taken of meetings particularly towards the end. And I suppose I was able to research the press reporting at the time as well as others who written books on the same subjects.”

Browne: “One of the things that intrigues me about your attitude on this is, and indeed Fianna Fail’s attitude, and I the attitude a lot of other people in the Green Party, is that even in hindsight you still think that the bank guarantee was a good idea.”

Boyle: “I don’t say that Vincent.”

Browne: “What you say is ‘I remain convinced that a wide scale bank guarantee had to be put in place’.”

Boyle: “I do believe that, I do believe that. You have to remember the context. The context, first of all, the Irish State licences and is meant to regulate banks, financial institutions. It failed miserably to do so. That failure accrues a liability on the Irish State because of that – the extent of which we can argue.”

Browne: “We sure can.”

Boyle: “The second instance is the fact that in terms of the international money markets. The international money markets make no distinction between borrowing by Ireland as a state and borrowing from Ireland, in terms of the Irish banks. And we’re seeing that at the moment…”

Browne: “Really?”

Boyle: “We’re seeing that at the very moment in terms of Spain. Spain has just got a €100billion package for their banks and the international money markets that Spanish lending, as a government, as a state, is compromised.”

Browne: “Dan, Dan, Dan, not true.”

Boyle: “That’s what’s happening.”

Browne: “Not true. The money given to the banks, the money given by the EU institutions by the bank is given in the first instance to the sovereign, to the Spanish sovereign, to the government state, and they’re giving it on to the banks. And it’s because of that, because of this debt is being inflicted on the Spanish state that there’s a problem with the financial market.”

Boyle: “The Spanish government are represented as different from the sovereign – markets haven’t accepted that.”

Browne: “They didn’t, no, not alone did the markets not accept it, neither did the EU institutions. The EU institutions insisted that it is the sovereign debt.”

Boyle: “Well I think that comes through.”

Browne: “So you’re completely wrong on that issue.”

Boyle: “Well that’s your opinion of it Vincent.”

Browne: “No it isn’t my opinion, it’s fact. You’re completely wrong on that issue. But go on.”
Boyle: “Well.”

Browne: “It’s fact.”

Boyle: “Well  if you say it is Vincent, I’ll take it as your fact, right. The third instance is that in terms of the freedom of movement and you have to remember that Irish public expenditure had already gone out of control even before Lehman Brothers. There was a collapse in tax receipts, borrowing by the Irish state increased over the same period and we went into the cycle where the 7 per cent came from Ireland and we found ourselves under pressure from the ECB and the IMF. And ultimately the freedom of movement was restricted because we were part of a multi-national currency.”

Browne: “Freedom of what movement?”

Boyle: “To make independent decisions, to make different decisions.”

Browne: “What?”

Boyle: “The ECB has always had, from day one, a right of veto practically as to how we approach this situation.”

Browne: “Absolutely not at all. Tell me, tell me under what authority is that?”

Boyle: “Because even at that stage. Even at that stage, Vincent.”

Browne:You’re just making this up.

Boyle: “Even at that stage, on the night of the guarantee being made, the ECB was providing liquidity support to Irish banks to the tune of €130billion.”

Browne: “Not at that time.”

Boyle: “Yes it was.”

Browne: “No, not at that time.”

Boyle: “Yes it was, Vincent.”

Browne:I’m sorry, of the bank guarantee? Oh, absolutely not. That was true of the night, of the time of the EU/IMF deal. But not at the time of the bank guarantee.

Boyle: “Not at all.”

Browne: “Go on. It’s just not true. But go on anyway.”

Boyle: “Well Vincent..look…”

Browne: “You don’t make that point in the book by the way.”

Boyle: “I do, I make those three points exactly.”

Browne: “In the book you make…”

Glenna Lynch: “Not about timescale, I don’t think Dan. You actually say [quotes from book] ‘Every piece of official advice we were receiving was telling us at that point, at that stage, that Anglo could achieve liability’.”

Boyle: “I point out the lack of distinction between the sovereign debt and the bank debt from international money purses. I point out the fact that the liability accrues because of the failure of the Irish state to regulate banking properly and I point out that fact, and in terms…”

Browne: “OK, OK. So in other words I was correct in interpreting your position as – even in hindsight, you did the right thing.”

Boyle: “No, what I said should have been done was that Anglo Irish should have been nationalised immediately but that wouldn’t have affected its bank debt. You were assuming the bank debt. And some the categories of debtors should have been tackled immediately such as the subordinated debt. But even with that, the best case scenario I think we would have, we would have saved about 10% of the bank debt.

Browne: “So here we go, and it’s the same with Fianna Fail, you people still believe that the most devastating single decision taken by the State since the Civil War that you’re still right. There’s a…It sort of suggests there’s no hope for you people.”

Boyle: “No, look.”

Watch here

Without Power Or Glory, Dan Boyle (Amazon)