Below is, hopefully, most of the speech from around 1am on February 7, 2013 – which the Twitterati have dubbed Promnight – addressing the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Bill 2013.
“This is a highly technical piece of legislation, with implications for the Irish people for decades to come.
We on this side of the house have not had time to go through it. Fine Gael and Labour TDs have not had time to go through it. The Finance committee has been bypassed, as happened in 2008 … and again in 2010 with the promissory notes.
I would be happy to support a bill that protects state interests in IBRC and this bill may do that, but it does much more.
Critically, it passed the 28bn promissory note from IBRC to the European Central Bank. If and when you vote yes to this legislation, you will be moving €28bn as a debt to 2 dead banks, under criminal investigation, from that, to the European Central Bank. The ECB is legally not allowed write any of that debt down.
That’s what this bill does tonight.
The other thing it does, Minister, is it gives you power to issue securities. What that means is that you’re going to be able to sit down with Patrick Honahan and Mario Draghi and say “Let’s all agree to turn this 28 yr promissory note into a 40 year bond.” And we in this house will have no say, we will have no vote because we will be giving you that authority in this bill.
That issuing of a security is an appropriation of public money. Appropriation of public money is the gift of this house, not the Minister, not the cabinet. This house and this house alone. It’s entirely possible that section 17 could be ruled unconstitutional.
Minister I would like you to withdraw this bill, and come back to the House, before the courts open for business in the morning, with the minimal legislation needed to protect state assets.
And then come back with wider legislation and allow this house do what it was elected to do. Allow your own TDs do what they were elected to do. Allow the Finance committee to do its role. And let’s talk on it, let’s debate it, and then let’s vote on it.
This act, brought in this way, this evening, is very, very dangerous and it is a fundamental erosion of parliamentary democracy.
I would ask all deputies to think very, very hard about how they vote on this, this evening.”