Monday, 15 October 2012

Protestors occupy AIB branches over €1 billion bond repayment

Sinn Féin protested at AIB’s O’Connell St branch – while the Occupy movement moved into Grafton St – to protest the move.

MEMBERS of Sinn Féin and the Occupy movement have occupied branches of AIB this lunchtime in protest at the bank’s repayment of an unguaranteed senior bond.

The bank – which is 99.8 per cent owned by the taxpayer following a series of government recapitalisations – is today repaying an unguaranteed bond worth €1 billion.

In a statement, the Occupy Dame Street movement said it had occupied the bank’s branch on Grafton St in Dublin 2 in protest at the payment “that we have no obligation to pay”.

“The stresses of impossible debts, unemployment, and insecurity, are eroding the fabric of society in Ireland,” the movement said.

“Can anyone blame those young people who are emigrating in droves, for leaving in search of some kind of future? The country is being gutted.”

It added that AIB’s bondholders had “took a gamble on the Irish economy and lost. But the government and the Troika agreed that ordinary people in Ireland would cover these losses, through cuts to health services, cuts in benefits, and the imposition of a host of taxes that burden the poor and benefit the few”.

Separately, members of Sinn Féin took to the bank’s O’Connell St branch – occupying a second-floor balcony – to demonstrate its objections to the repayment.

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said the repayment of the bond was “totally unacceptable”, particularly given that the amount being repaid was around double the amount that would be removed from the social protection budget in Budget 2013.

“The fact that this bond is being paid today is further evidence of the Government’s failure to deal with the debt crisis,” he said.

“Just as they have no clear strategy to deal with the Anglo Irish debt or the pillar bank debt, they have no plan to deal with the on-going payment of unguaranteed and unsecured bonds.”

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