Banking policy amounts to ‘public handouts for bankers in hard times, profit privatisation in good times.’

Ryan calls for AIB to be kept in public ownership as a public investment bank.

Government plans to re-privatise state-controlled bank AIB have been slammed as “public handouts for bankers in the hard times, and privatisation of profits in the good times.”

Cllr. Éilis Ryan (Workers’ Party, North Inner City Dublin), responded this morning to an announcement from AIB that it proposes paying a €250million dividend to its shareholders. The state owns 99% of AIB, and will as a result receive the overwhelming bulk of the proposed dividend. This is to be the first dividend paid by AIB since 2008.

Cllr. Ryan said:

The state stepped in to bail out bankers at the beginning of the crash and, as the majority shareholder in AIB, taxpayers paid handsomely for its recovery. For us to sell off the bank now that it is back in the black – and let the wealthiest bankers reap the profits of Irish taxpayers’ investment – would be financial madness.

Cllr. Ryan said the Workers’ Party is calling for AIB to be kept in public ownership and used as a public investment vehicle to drive Ireland’s industrial development, arguing:

We are already seeing the beginnings of a new property bubble in Ireland. A profitable, well-run state bank can be used to shift the Irish economy away from its dangerous reliance on property and tax breaks – as well as providing much needed revenue, such as this year’s €250 million dividend.