The Minister is assuming, for this exercise, that not only have we reached the bottom but we are about to bounce back. Yet he has not offered supporting evidence for this. It is extremely worrying that we are being asked to make this decision without access to proper evidence. This goes to the core of the issue.
One thing Irish people have learned over the last seven years is not to accept glib assurances from Ministers that everything will turn out all right on the night. Many of those who are telling us today there is no alternative to NAMA are the same people who told us the property price rises were based on sound economic fundamentals.
They are the same people who were telling us there would be a soft landing. They turned around to the critics and said it was an act of national sabotage to criticise the wonderful policies the Government was pursuing. These people are now hatching up the idea that there is only one game in town. The new creed is the notion of long-term economic value, which has replaced the concept of sound economic fundamentals. It is telling us that for these people the dream lives on: a bounce-back is just around the corner.
There will be no bounce back. There will be no bounce back. There will be no bounce back.
The toxic triangle of Fianna Fáil, bankers and developer-borrowers must be dealt with. I will send the relevant sections of the Bill to the Minister. I acknowledge that he wrote to me yesterday to indicate his intention to amend certain sections at the request of the Labour Party arising from legal advice we received on current crisis conditions. I will send him the further legal advice to which I referred. An undertaking by the Minister to amend the legislation in this respect would be in the public interest.
Like one of the characters in Alice in Wonderland, this legislation requires the public to believe six impossible things before breakfast, all of which come down to a question of trust. Do we trust Fianna Fáil and the Minister for Finance to head up the largest property firm on the planet? Do we trust Fianna Fáil not to bail out the bankers and developer-borrowers? Do we trust the Minister who claimed that the blanket guarantee he introduced for the financial institutions last September would be the cheapest bank rescue in the world? Do we trust a Taoiseach who pleaded that Ireland’s economic fundamentals were sound when it was plain to see we were teetering on the brink of disaster? Do we trust a Government that inflated a property bubble, ignored all advice to curtail property-based tax incentives and buried its head in the sand when the house of cards collapsed? Do we trust the Green Party to put the country first or will it stay in office at all costs?
The people are giving their verdict on these questions. We are receiving mountains of e-mails and letters pleading with the Government to change course, because these correspondents know we are heading for disaster. Fianna Fáil’s rock-bottom standing in the polls is an indication of the public perception that its trust has been betrayed. People see the modest prosperity they have built up through hard work in the last 15 to 20 years slipping away from them. This is the painful reality for many. People are angry and cannot fathom why the Minister for Finance wants to pour €44 billion into the very financial institutions that hold their mortgages, many of which are now in negative equity. People no longer trust Fianna Fáil on the economy.
Do you trust Fianna Fail?
If you read one debate, read this one. Joan Burton and Richard Bruton, in my opinion, are absolutely correct in everything they say.