Even though the Fine Gael party had harsh words for the 85-billion-euro ($112.72 billion) bailout package put together by the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ireland’s Finance Minister Brian Lenihan pushed it through Parliament on Wednesday by a margin of only six votes, having some harsh words of his own for the protesters.
According to a Reuters report, Lenihan told Fine Gael that its proposals to make senior bondholders share the losses incurred by the banks would fail because the European Central Bank (ECB) opposed such measures. He said, “Those who think we can unilaterally renege on senior bondholders against the wishes of the ECB are living in fantasy land.”
Fine Gael is opposed to the years of cutbacks and tax increases to be faced by Irish citizens so that senior bondholders can be repaid in full through the rescue funds. That party is expected to lead a coalition government in 2011 once an election is held, and has been outspoken in advocating that senior bondholders holding debt not covered by a government guarantee—some 15 billion euros—should have to accept some losses as well. That would cut the amount Ireland would have to borrow.