Irish government throws pebble into the stream

It’s beyond general comment so I won’t even try. But can anybody tell me why in this turmoil the US Congress has to rise for the two days of the Jewish New Year?

Irish government guarantees for deposits seems to have lifted stocks in Dublin for the moment but it can only be a pebble in the stream. Nor are all Irish Banks Irish as the Irish Times reminds us.

“The measure does not extend to deposits or debts in National Irish Nank, ACC, Rabobank or Ulster Bank which are subsidiaries of large international banks.”

For instance, Ulster Bank is owned by the giant Royal Bank of Scotland and National, the Northern Bank in NI is owned by Danske Bank which has netted out of Lehman’s at a cost of a mere $100 million and appears in no worse a position than any other. Meanwhile, Anatole cries: “We’re all doomed”. For some the burden of the bail-out on taxpayers could be too much. For others, the pure marketeers, it’s the wrong thing to do anyway… Meanwhile, it’s headless chickens time down on the money farm.

Update on cross border, cross channel complications. From the BBC story “The department said that the scheme would cover all UK branches of the financial institutions, but that negotiations were under way with the British authorities on safeguards that might be provided to any of the six banks’ subsidiary companies in the UK.” Just to confuse the issue, ThisisMoney reports that “full compensation will not stretch to UK customers of Allied Irish Bank, as it says its UK branches are separately authorised to its Irish parent bank when it comes to compensation. These savings are therefore only covered up to the UK limit of £35,000 per individual. The move will increase pressure on Alistair Darling to increase the UK limit to £50,000 before the end of the year as he hinted during the summer.” “This is by any standards an extraordinary development that may result in an exposure of as much as €400bn for the Irish taxpayer,” said Joan Burton of the Irish Labour party.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London