Promissory notes deal: As it Happened
Updated: Wednesday, 13 Feb 2013 12:12Tap here to refresh
Ireland has been offered a deal by the ECB on the promissory notes payments for IBRC, making it it easier for the Government to pay the legacy bank debt.
- Deal reached on promissory notes with ECB
- President Higgins signs Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Bill 2013
- Dáil and Seanad passed legislation to liquidate IBRC overnight
- Legislation seeks to replace the promissory note with a long-term Government bond
- All IBRC employee contracts terminated, staff to receive statutory redundancy
- Tuesday's Dáil debate: As it happened
- Michael Noonan says he took action to protect bank's assets
- Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Bill 2013
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan is live on RTÉ's Prime Time, from 9.35pm on RTÉ One and RTÉ News Now
Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said the deal would have a minimal impact on austerity and the price to be paid by future generations is enormous.
Fianna Fail has called for the immediate publication of the full details of the agreement with the ECB.
Micheál Martin said he welcomed any alleviation of the debt burdern, but it seems it will lead to a modest budget saving of around €1bn over the next two years.
The United Left Alliance says the deal is “stroke politics at its worst”.
The debt will still be paid it said, but not by this Government.
This is a deal negotiated by the elite in Ireland with the elite in the EU, and solely in the interest of those elites, a statement said.
The Central Bank will sell the bonds into the open market, but only to the extent that it doesn't upset financial stability.
Department of Finance officials have said that a situation will not arise where the Central Bank is selling bonds at the same time that the NTMA is also entering the market.
The interest rate on the bonds is currently being calculated by the National Treasury Management Agency.
It will be a floating rate in the order of 3 to 3.5%
Department of Finance officials are expecting some claims from deposit holders guaranteed under the Eligible Liabilities Guarantee Scheme.
They expect these claims to cost the State between €0.9bn and €1.1bn this year.
They point out these claims would have arisen at some point in the future anyway.
Olli Rehn has said Ireland was on track to exit from the EU-IMF programme as planned.
He said that while significant progress had been made in repairing the banking sector, more needed to be done to enable banks to increase lending to the economy.
EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn said the "major steps" taken by the Irish authorities regarding the promissory notes should "further boost confidence and help to facilitate a successful outcome."
Michael Noonan said when the emergency legislation was passed early this morning there was no agreement on a deal with the ECB.
He said the Government only got agreement at the end of the ECB meeting today.
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams told the Dáil that the Government had tied this debt onto our children, who along with their children will spend their lives paying it off.
When asked why the ECB "did not back the deal", Mr Noonan said the deal was between the Government and the Central Bank over which the ECB had oversight.
He said unanimous noting is the key issue.
"Mario Draghi decided on this occasion that he wanted unanimity and he got unanimity".
Michael Noonan said the Government had not been looking for a writedown on the bank debt as the ECB does not give writedowns.
He said the interest would be charged at a floating rate of 3% to 3.5%.
President Higgins said he followed the debate during the night and this morning he was happy to discharge his duty in relation to having considered it to sign it in time to ensure that everything moves on to the next phase in terms of legislation, which he said was of course not his area.
President Michael D Higgins said he is happy to say he was afforded the opportunity of giving the IBRC Bill the consideration it undoubtedly deserved.
He said it was a substantial piece of legislation.
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore is taking Leaders' Questions on the promissory note deal.
Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath said there will be disappointment that the deal has not changed the amount of debt that Ireland has to pay back.
He said that by converting the promissory note to Government bonds, we are acknowledging that there will be no retrospective deals for Ireland in terms of the banking union.
Minister Howlin said in real terms the deal means that in the next decade we will borrow €20bn less and the impact on our deficit...annual benefit next year is 0.6% of GDP
Brendan Howlin says Mr Noonan has done a great service to the country by delivering the deal to Cabinet.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin speaking at a news conference. Live on RTÉ One, RTÉ News Now and online
The Irish Hotels Federation welcomed the Government's announcement of a deal with the ECB on the IBRC Anglo Irish promissory notes.
IHF Chief Executive Tim Fenn said the deal will provide a much-needed boost to consumer confidence and people's ability to spend in the local economy, which will in turn have a significant positive effect on tourism.
Joint press conference with Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin is now due to take place at 4.30pm.
Irish benchmark Government bond yields have fallen to their lowest since before the start of the US sub-prime mortgage crisis, following the announcement of a deal on the Anglo promissory notes.
This will reduce the country's borrowing costs in the future.
The October 2020 Irish bond yield fell as low as 3.955% earlier this afternoon, the lowest seen in an equivalent Irish benchmark bond since early 2007, according to Reuters data.
Shorter-term Irish bonds also rallied, with prices rising as yields fell.
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrick Reinfeldt welcomed news of a deal between the Government and the ECB on the promissory notes.
While he had not read the detail, Mr Reinfeldt said he was "very impressed" with what he had seen from Ireland - a country, he said, which had shown the "will to reform".
Central Bank Chief Patrick Honohan said today he was "very satisfied with the arrangement that the Government has made about the IBRC and that it's going ahead."
Asked whether the deal avoids being a central bank financing the Government, a concern the ECB had on a previous Irish plan, Mr Honohan said that would not be a problem.
"We have that all examined and sorted, it's very far from monetary financing."
All the news and analysis from the extended One News is available on our Watch & Listen page.
News conference scheduled for 4pm with Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin has been cancelled for the moment.
Independent TD Mattie McGrath said that as a small businessman he knows this is not a deal and sadly the Government has not delivered.
No bond holder has been burned and he said it is unbelievable that the bond holders are still laughing all the way to the bank.
Sinn Féin's Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said the Government is telling people that they will have to pay back every penny of the toxic Anglo Irish Bank debt.
He told the Dáil that the Government has not only pledged to pay back €28bn in debt but also a further €1bn in interest every year.
He said the bank debt has been turned into a €64bn sovereign bond thus doubling the cost of the bailing out the bank.
Micheál Martin told the Dáil that the ECB did not give Ireland a fair deal from day one.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the announcement will facilitate Ireland's ability to leave the bailout programme.
He said it appears it will reduce the need for budget corrections by possibly €1bn.
Mr Martin asked what this is likely to mean for the next budget where savings of more €3bn are required.
What the Government is claiming cannot be taken at face value, he said.
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said today's outcome is a good day for the country. He said it has been a long a difficult slog to get to this point.
The long-term bonds will have an average maturity of 34 years and the agreement lifts a considerable burden from the shoulders of the Irish people, he said.
The Tánaiste paid tribute to the TDs who supported the Government and who, he said, had put the long term interest of the country ahead of short-term gain.
RTE Industry and Employment Correspondent Ingrid Miley reports that all IBRC direct employees - regardless of seniority or the size of their salary - will only receive statutory redundancy.
That amounts to two weeks pay per year of service - capped at €600 per week.
Under previous IBRC redundancy deals, they would have received four weeks per year of service.
As yet it is unclear whether this will apply to workers who may be employed on specific contracts.
Enda Kenny: "This plan will lead to a substantial improvement in the State's debt position over time.
"Step-by-step, this Government is undoing the disastrous banking policies that brought this State to the brink of national bankruptcy".
The Taoiseach said the country has reached a conclusion to its discussions with the ECB that is fairer and more sustainable.
He said the former Anglo Irish Bank has been removed from the landscape and the annual promissory note payments are gone.
They are being exchanged for longer term bonds with the first maturing in 2038 and the last in 2053.
There will be a €20 billion reduction in the borrowing requirement of the NTMA in the coming years.
Mr Kenny said this is a historic step in Ireland's recovery.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has told the Dáil that today Ireland reached a conclusion in its discussions with the ECB to reach a "fairer and more sustainable" arrangement
Stephen Donnelly TD on Twitter @DonnellyStephen
"Taoiseach is apparently on his way to the chamber right now. Guess we're about to find out what Draghi meant when by "take note".
MerrionStreet.ie on Twitter @merrionstreet - Taoiseach to address Dáil before 3pm.
Mario Draghi said there was no decision today, but the efforts of the Government on this and in relation to economic policy, is what really mattered in the end to re-establish the reputation of Ireland on the financial markets.
Europe Editor Tony Connelly on Twitter: "Draghi: We took note, we don't want to enter into the details of the swap... (so there is a bond swap)"
"Draghi: I know it's not satisfactory what I'm saying on Ireland, but it's difficult to say otherwise"
Taoiseach Enda Kenny is expected to address the Dáil this afternoon. Watch live on RTÉ News Now
RTÉ Business Editor David Murphy @davidmurphyRTE
Government sources: "this is the form of words we expected". Other sources say Draghi's address means the deal has been agreed.
Mr Draghi said the ECB would review the situation in due time and this was not the last word on the issue. He said it would come back to it.
Mr Draghi said he knew what he was saying was not very satisfactory, but he said it was very difficult for him to say anything different.
Asked again about Ireland, Mr Draghi said the ECB did not want to enter into the details of the swap.
Mr Draghi repeated that the council took note, but he said that there was no more emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) and he said he could not go any further.
He said it would not be right for him to comment on what another central bank was doing or was about to do.
1,031 workers will be affected by the liquidation of IBRC. 978 are direct employees - with 809 employed in the Republic of Ireland, and 169 working in Britain.
A further 53 contractors are affected, with 52 of those working in the Republic, and one in the UK.
It is expected that the Cabinet will discuss the deal at 2pm and the Taoiseach will speak in the Dáil at 2.30pm.
Official sources have told RTÉ News that the words "take note" used by Mario Draghi means that the deal has been agreed.
Mr Draghi said that the ECB governing council did not take a decision today but it "unanimously took note of the Irish operation".
"I will refer you to the Irish Government and Central Bank for details," he said when he was asked about reports of a deal.
He said it was designed by the Government and the Central Bank.
"I can only say today we took note of this."
Mario Draghi has said that stronger global demand should support growth in the eurozone.
He said that data suggests further weakness in economic activity in the fourth quarter of 2012 and early in 2013.
ECB President Mario Draghi is giving press conference in Frankfurt. To watch, click on the panel above.
Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Michael McGrath described as "reasonable" the estimated repayments of €700-800m per annum, as opposed to €1.9bn.
However, Mr McGrath said that the key issue is how savings will translate into the Government's budgetary decisions.
Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath said that while he feels "kicking the capital payment down the road as far as we possible can" through a new deal on bank debt will yield benefits, he feels an injustice has been done to the Irish people.
Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn said he would take no lectures from Fianna Fáil after what it did when it pushed through the bank guarantee
He said when the Government has any deal, there will be a briefing.
Sinn Féin's Peadar Tóibín said it was disgraceful that no debate on whatever deal is coming out of Europe is to be debated in the Dáil today.
People Before Profit Alliance TD Richard Boyd Barrett echoed those sentiments and said last night's Bill was forced through without proper briefings and debate.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said that the way the Dáil is being treated is a disgrace, adding that the Government is using its majority to undermine the house.
Mr Martin said that what happened last night was wrong with no proper briefings.
Get the latest on the promissory note deal on RTÉ's News at One and One News.
Sources say the deal will involve the State issuing tranches of new bonds with varying maturity dates.
There is some speculation the average maturity rate may be 35 years.
It is understood that the promissory notes deal varies from the proposal that was submitted by Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan.
It is understood this is the first time the proposal will come before Cabinet and there is a a meeting of the Cabinet scheduled for 2pm.
Ministers will need to agree the terms of the proposal that has now been approved by the ECB.
Meanwhile, the ECB has kept eurozone interest rates steady at 0.75%.
RTÉ News understands Ireland has concluded a deal with the ECB in Frankfurt. This will require agreement from the Cabinet.
In a paragraph headed "New Employment with Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited (In Special Liquidation)" Mr Wallace said their continued cooperation and assistance during this time is extremely valued by the special liqudators.
He said: "In this context, they would like to offer you new employment to commence immediately on a temporary basis."
IBRC Special Liquidator Kieran Wallace has formally informed staff that all contracts of employment with the company are automatically terminated with immediate effect.
In an email to all NAMA unit employees, Mr Wallace said that their plan is to have an orderly wind-down of the business.
He said that during this time they plan to continue to manage the business as directed and effect the sale of the assets of the company.
Reuters is reporting that the European Central Bank and Ireland have reached a compromise on a long-standing dispute over the cost of the Anglo Irish Bank promissory notes.
The Central Bank has said it cannot comment on a Reuters report suggesting Ireland has a deal.
IBRC staff are currently being briefed on the implications of the bank’s liquidation for them.
The first group to be briefed were told that some were going to be kept on, though specific numbers were not given.
It is expected that those staff will be employed on new rolling contracts, but it is hoped that they will retain their existing terms and conditions in the short term.
In the meantime staff are expected to continue to do their normal work.
Staff at IBRC have been told that they will only receive statutory redundancy following the liquidation of the institution by the Government last night.
Previous redundancy deals at the former Anglo Irish Bank involved payouts of four weeks per year of service inclusive of statutory redundancy.
However, statutory redundancy only allows for two weeks per year of service, capped at €600 per week.
The EU leaders’ summit in Brussels, which is being held to try to agree a €1 trillion budget, has been delayed until later this afternoon.
An EU source said that the Council President, Herman Van Rompuy, had sought extra time to "fine tune" his compromise proposal, before submitting it to the 27 EU Prime Ministers and Presidents.
The summit is now expected to get under way at around 4.30pm Irish time, instead of 3pm, with the budget proposal being tabled around 5.30pm.
The Department of Finance has said Ireland has successfully concluded the ninth review of the EU-IMF bailout programme.
In a statement, the department said: "In line with each of the previous quarterly reviews, Ireland has met all of the commitments and our continued strong programme implementation has been recognized by the Troika."
EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn is to make a statement this afternoon on the latest Troika review mission to Ireland.
It is understood the statement will include a reaction to any deal on promissory notes should an announcement be made at the ECB news conference in Frankfurt.
The liquidator for the IBRC has confirmed that he will meet the IBRC following a staff meeting. The times of the meetings have not yet been confirmed.
The IBOA has said there is no guarantee as to how many IBRC workers will be employed following the enacting of legislation to liquidate the bank.
IBOA General Secretary Larry Broderick has said it would be despicable if the reward for their loyalty and dedication was to be cast aside in such a callous fashion.
Labour Galway West TD Derek Nolan has said that it was not an attempt to "kick the can down the road".
He said if money is pushed down the line and if payment is delayed, then the value will be transferred to the person who has borrowed the money.
The Quinn Manufacturing Group has said it is "business as usual" at the company after the liquidation of IBRC.
Joan Burton said the Government's action last night on the promissory notes was "appropriate". She said the focus must now be on the outcome, which is push out the Irish debt so that the economy can grow.
On whether a deal may mean an easing of austerity in the next budget, Minister Burton said it was "too early to say".
Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has said Ireland needs the understanding of the ECB and she is hopeful that will be forthcoming.
The Supreme Court has heard a number of TDs want to join the appeal by businessman David Hall on the promissory note case.
Mr Hall asked the court to give the case priority, as his lawyers said the payment of €3.1bn is still due for payment in March.
Lawyers for the State said events overnight may result in the case becoming moot, or pointless, depending on the outcome of negotiations in Frankfurt.
The Chief Justice said an application must first be made to join the TDs before the urgency of the case can be assessed
Former IMF deputy director Donal Donovan assesses the IBRC plan, and says stretching out the repayments over a longer period is a distinct improvement.
Shane Ross said the Dáil debate took just two hours, before it was voted through without amendment and sent to the Senate.
"I remember the bank guarantee, this was worse, we had less time on this than we did on the bank guarantee," Mr Ross said.
Independent TD Shane Ross has complained that deputies did not have sufficient time to read or fully understand the Bill passed last night to liquidate the IBRC, and he believes that passing this Bill is a decision people will come to regret.
Speaking on Today with Pat Kenny, Mr Ross described the Bill as one of the most important in the history of the State.
He said that he and others were given a ten-minute briefing at 10.20pm, and were then given a half an hour to read the 59-page Bill.
Mr Ross said it was not possible to read it fully in that time, or to make an informed decision on it.
RTÉ Courts Reporter Vivienne Traynor on Twitter: "David hall seeking priority for sup ct appeal on #promnote. State says whole case could be moot depending on Frankfurt negotiations"
"A number of TDs want to join the #promnote appeal. Chief Justice says that issue must be dealt with first before urgency can be assessed."
Bloomberg is reporting this morning that the ECB Governing Council is unlikely to make a decision on the promissory note issue at their meeting today, as some members want to discuss it with their own central banks first.
This is according to people familiar with the situation, who asked not to be identified as the negotiations are private.
Reuters reports that an economist has said the price of a McDonald’s Big Mac shows economic reforms are working in Ireland.
By studying the different prices for a McDonald's Big Mac burger throughout the eurozone between July 2011 and January 2013, Guntram Wolff found evidence that struggling countries including Ireland had tightened their belts and others had not.
The price of a Big Mac has been used by The Economist for decades as a partially tongue-in-cheek way of judging global currency valuations - the idea being that it costs the same to make but is charged at different prices around the world.
Mr Wolff took the data and found that the price rise in Greece, Portugal and Spain has been less than the euro zone average, while in Ireland the price actually fell.
More audio from Morning Ireland available here, including Economist Karl Whelan, Financial Times Frankfurt Bureau Chief Michael Steen, and Minister of State Brian Hayes.
RTÉ Europe Editor Tony Connelly (@tconnellyRTE) on Twitter: "Latest ex Frankfurt: #ECB spokesperson says no announcement on #promissory notes ahead of news conf which gets under way at 1330 Irish time"
President Michael D Higgins has left Dublin for Rome this morning, having signed the legislation to liquidate the IBRC, after being recalled from his official visit to Italy.
Richard Bruton said the Government was well prepared for last night, however he admitted the legislation had to be prepared quickly after the leak.
On the 800 jobs at IBRC, Minister Bruton said he hoped that many staff would be redeployed to work with the liquidator.
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton has said last night marked an "important milestone" in the Irish banking crisis.
He said it brought an end "to the whole saga of Anglo Irish Bank" and that the legacy of Anglo had to be dealt with.
"The role of the ECB in aiding the chaos shows that the government has chosen Frankfurt's Way." - Pearse Doherty.
"This is a humiliating failure for the Government. Having promised change they are now repeating exactly the same mistakes as Fianna Fáil." - Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty.
Larry Broderick said IBRC staff had agreements with the Government which provided for continuous employment until the bank was wound down.
He said it was "shocking" that the Government had not addressed the issue as part of the legislation and he said that the Government had terminated contracts and reneged on agreements.
He also said he was calling for a meeting with the Minister for Finance and the liquidator, KPMG, this morning.
IBOA General Secretary Larry Broderick has described the treatment of staff at the IBRC as "horrendous."
Speaking on Morning Ireland, he said there was no respect for the staff - which he said had been given a task to wind down the company and had agreed redundancy terms.
He said it was "galling" the manner in which IBRC staff were being treated and he said it not a good message to send out to the international community or to any company that was planning on investing in Ireland.
Audio from Morning Ireland is available here, including Conor McMorrow's report from Kildare Street as politicians briefed the media, TDs reacting to the legislation, and Sean Whelan and Paul Cunningham explaining the consequences.
The Central Bank has said the appointment of a special liquidator to IBRC triggers the Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DGS) and the Eligible Liabilities Guarantee for the remaining depositors at IBRC.
In a statement, the Central Bank said it will arrange the repayment of duly verified and eligible deposits, up to a limit of €100,000 per person, to eligible depositors at IBRC.
Depositors do not need to take any action; the Central Bank will make payments directly by cheque where applicable.
IBOA General Secretary Larry Broderick says IBRC staff were due to meet the special liquidator at 9am, but that meeting has been deferred until later this morning with a time yet to be confirmed.
Tweet from Peter Spiegel @SpiegelPeter: "Note to all Irish radio broadcasters. Please stop calling me! I have newborn at home and calls started at 7:30am, sending home into chaos."
President Michael D Higgins is expected to leave Dublin late this morning to continue his official visit to Italy after signing the legislation this morning.
RTÉ Political Correspondent David McCullagh and Business Editor David Murphy are now live on Morning Ireland.
Brian Hayes said any deal with the ECB will be put to the Oireachtas.
"Confident and optimistic" is how the Government views its chances of getting a good deal from the ECB, according to Minister of State at the Department of Finance Brian Hayes.
Donal Donovan: "By reducing the €3.1bn principal repayment, pushing it out, we are doing two things: first of all we're reducing the amount the Government has to find every year to borrow from the markets in order to come up with this €3.1bn - it's not going to be zero, but it'll be likely to be much less.
"Second, by pushing it out, we are giving the opportunity for the country to grow and for recovery to take place, so that when we do start to repay this down the road, the cost is not going to be so great. That's not a trivial thing."
Donal Donovan told Morning Ireland the €30bn Anglo Irish debt had always been, in reality, sovereign debt and it was never on the cards that it would be written down. He said what was significant was that the terms of its repayment would be improved.
University of Limerick economist Stephen Kinsella has said the proposed deal was akin to "re-arranging the deck chairs".
The proposed deal has yet to be approved by the European Central Bank, and Mr Kinsella said he was not confident that the Government would get the deal it wanted.
He said it was disheartening to think that what he described as the odious debt of IBRC was officially part of the debt of the State.
The former deputy director of the IMF has said the liquidation of IBRC and the proposed deal on the promissory notes can only make Ireland's economic situation better.
Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Donal Donovan said it would reduce the amount the Government had to find every year to pay back the promissory note and would give an opportunity for the country to grow.
Sean Fleming said he hopes a good deal will be secured on the promissory notes today and that this was a continuation of the banking problems that have been seen in across the Western world.
Fianna Fáil Public Expenditure and Reform spokesperson Sean Fleming said he hopes the IBRC liquidator will re-employee all staff at the bank as soon as they arrive at work this morning.
Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Fleming said he hoped the IBRC employees would be properly treated.
RTÉ's Morning Ireland has the latest political and economic reaction to the legislation.
Mr Broderick said he was seeking an urgent meeting with the Minister for Finance and with liquidators KPMG.
Irish Bank Officials Association General Secretary Larry Broderick said he is fearful that the fate of the more than 800 people employed by IBRC will be overlooked.
The Governing Council of the ECB could spike the deal if it feels the plan amounts to financing the Government.
The plan is intended to make it easier to pay for the cost of bailing out Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide by spreading payments over a longer time period.
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said the legislation was needed to protect taxpayers from vested interests, after news of plans to liquidate the IBRC became public.
The legislation will liquidate the IBRC, which was formerly known as Anglo Irish Bank, and seeks to replace the promissory note with a long-term Government bond.
Legislation to facilitate a potential deal on Ireland's promissory notes passed through the Dáil and the Seanad, both of which sat overnight.
The Bill was signed into law this morning by President Michael D Higgins who interrupted a State visit to Italy and returned home shortly before midnight last night. He will return to Italy today.