The state sell-off of shares in AIB shows an ideological commitment to the private market that trumps logic.
The state is no longer in majority ownership of the bank for the first time since the 2008 banking crisis. This is a bad but seemingly deliberate move. It comes at a time when the bank has posted operating profits of €1.2 billion in the first half of 2023 and has said it is expecting to have ‘a very good year.’
It makes little financial sense for the state to bail out unprofitable banks only to then sell their shares once they start doing well again. At best, it is short-term thinking. At worst, it shows that the government does not believe that banking is so important that it must be held publicly. They believe in private profit banking and bailing out the capitalist class with public money while workers struggle to get by. Were there no lessons learned from the 2008 financial crash?
The Workers’ Party believes in the state ownership of banking institutions to be run for the public good. The pain suffered by working communities as a result of the austerity implemented in the wake of the bank bailout, designed to benefit the rich at the expense of the rest of us, should never have to be endured again.